DENVER (KDVR) – Efforts to house people living in the City and County of Denver continue this week. The Denver Housing Authority (DHA) opened the application process for its housing lottery.

The program is pretty popular in the city and if you want to apply, you will need to act fast.

DHA said 650 vouchers will be distributed over the course of the coming year but that should not stop people from applying.

“It’s our once-a-year opportunity for members of the public to enter into a lottery that gives them the opportunity for affordable housing in 2024,” said Joshua Crawley, DHA’s interim executive director.

DHA’s lottery for affordable housing opened at midnight Thursday.

Last year, more than 18,500 people submitted applications for the lottery.

“I would anticipate at least the same number of entries if not more given the need that we are seeing in the community,” Crawley said.

Anyone can apply to enter the lottery before the city’s housing authority determines eligiblity.

“The eligibility determination comes after your lottery number actually selected. So anyone who is 18 and has eligible immigration status can apply for the lottery then throughout 2024 we draw numbers truly in a lottery fashion randomly,” Crawley said.

Around this time last year, 614 applications were submitted once folks were selected in the lottery. Vouchers are issued for 120 days and folks have to lease a unit within two-four weeks once they find a unit. The housing authority saying 75% of applicants will earn less than 30 percent of the average median income.

With only five percent of applicants still unable to find housing after they were selected, the housing authority is working with other groups to make sure everyone who wants to apply can.

“We do have partnership with the Denver public Libraries. They are aware of our lotteries going on right now and they have computers that individuals can use if they need access. We also have two community centers: one at North Lincoln homes and one at Westwood homes where we have staff available today and tomorrow,” Crawley said.

The housing authority wants people to know it’s absolutely free to apply for this, no need to pay anyone to help you apply.

The applications close just before midnight Friday. You can apply through the Denver Housing Authority website.