PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With more than 25,000 Rhode Islanders currently on the waiting list to receive Section 8 housing vouchers, housing officials are offering landlords financial incentives to rent to the program’s recipients.

The incentives range from $2,000 for the first apartment rented to then $500 for each subsequent unit, according to state officials, who say they’re trying to get more landlords to participate in the program as Section 8 recipients struggle to find affordable places to live.

Only about 50 landlords so far have participated in the incentive program since it launched in October 2020.

“It is hard to find an apartment no matter who you are whether you have a voucher or don’t have a voucher it is difficult to find a vacant unit,” said Michael DiChiaro, director of leased housing and rental services at R.I. Housing.

The limited amount of affordable housing units is causing some who finally get off the wait list and receive a voucher to later return it because they can’t find a place to live, DiChiaro told Target 12.

Those who receive a voucher have 60 days to find a place to live.

“They are having difficulty finding available units anywhere in Rhode Island, regardless of price,” he said.

Meanwhile, more than 8,000 Rhode Islanders rely on Section 8 housing voucher to help pay the rent. R.I. Housing officials are urging landlords who might be interested in participating in the incentive program to visit their website to learn more about what options are available.

Sarah Guernelli (sguernelli@wpri.com) is the consumer investigative reporter for 12 News. Connect with her on Twitter and on Facebook.