For the first time in 11 years, the application for Section 8, now known as the housing choice voucher program, is finally open.

The federal program assists low income families, the elderly, and people with disabilities in affording housing.

The wait list for the application closed in 2009, accepting no new applicants, and families have felt the impact.

"It's a struggle trying to make ends meet, which, it's OK at times, but it's all right to get that extra help," said Housing Choice Voucher applicant Marielena Perez. 

La'Shonda Hamilton of Syracuse Housing Authority says out of more than 10,000 applicants, only 3,500 applicants will be selected, but Onondaga County should not fear.

"Preference for Onondaga County residence. We will serve those families first, then we will serve the rest of the population that applied to our waiting list," said Hamilton, the HAPP supervisor of the program. 

The supervisor says recipients can use their voucher anywhere in the U.S., as long as the homes pass the quality standard inspection. Hamilton says a criminal background does not disqualify one from acceptance, but they have to meet income limits. 

If you're looking to apply, you can do it over the phone or online. If you don't have internet access, you can visit SUNY EOC or your local library for assistance.