"That fact has become official in the past month as area housing agencies have closed their waiting lists for people seeking rental assistance. The lists were getting so long, and openings for actual vouchers were coming so infrequently, that housing officials felt it only gave false hope to add new applicants.
"It could be three to five years. We just don't know," said Peggy Wiese, the executive director of the South Central Minnesota Multi-County HRA. "... Right now it's well over a year."
Her agency - which serves the counties of Nicollet, Sibley, Waseca, Watonwan and Martin - shut down the list last week. At that point, it contained 625 names of people waiting for help. The agency has funding for about 610 rental vouchers, which average just over $300 a month. So even if every person currently receiving help suddenly dropped from the program, the waiting list still wouldn't be emptied.
And the reality is that almost nobody is dropping out."