Jones Falls Expressway

High Stakes

High Stakes

It’s the highest-stakes lottery poor people play. Winners can get their rent paid for life. Losers may end up sleeping on the street. The last chance to play was in 2003.

Now the time has come again.

For the first time in more than a decade, Baltimore Housing will begin this month taking applications from people needing federal Housing Choice vouchers (also known as Section 8), which pays all the rent over 35 percent of the recipient’s income. But advocates for the homeless are concerned about the city’s process.

“They say they are getting to the end of the list,” says Jeff Singer, an advocate with Housing Our Neighbors, a nonprofit that works with...