More than 1,000 families could soon become eligible for rent assistance from Atlanta’s housing authority, thanks to a policy change enacted Wednesday afternoon.

During Atlanta Housing’s October board of commissioners meeting, members unanimously voted to lower the work requirements needed to secure benefits from the Housing Choice Voucher Program from 30 hours to an average of 20 hours per week.

The move means 1,079 families who were denied rent assistance because they didn’t meet the work requirements could soon become compliant with the prerequisites.

Before Wednesday’s vote, Atlanta had “the most stringent work requirement program” of any public housing agency in the country, according to an AH presentation. By bumping the minimum weekly work requirements down to 20 hours, Atlanta is now on par with housing authorities in cities such as Charlotte and San Diego.

The new policy also helps individuals who have difficulty finding a full 30 hours of work per week – especially at just one job. Some employers are reluctant to hire someone for that many hours since they could be obligated to provide benefits such as health insurance.

Atlanta Housing officials will now contact all those previously denied families and take a second look their applications. Additionally, some 1,200 families participating in the program who weren’t meeting the work requirements will be reassessed and could be relieved of the threat of having their assistance taken away.

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