MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Numbers from the Metropolitan Council show that about 35,000 people applied last week seeking Section 8 housing in the metro area.

The affordable housing program helps recipients pay 60 to 70 percent of their rent. Some 2,000 slots were open recently for the first time in five years for residents in Anoka, Washington, Dakota, Scott, Carver, and in rural Hennepin and Ramsey counties.

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While the Metropolitan Council was expecting to get upwards of 50,000 applications, it still received 35,917. That’s close to 18 applications for every Section 8 slot open.

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Of the applicants, 80 percent live, work or attend school in the seven county metro area, the council said. Nearly 75 percent of the applicants have a woman head of household, and more than half of the applications are for families.

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The Metropolitan Council said 2,000 applicants will be put on the wait list.