Section 8 Housing Vouchers – Arizona

Locked out: Section 8 housing vouchers fail to open doors for low-income renters, By Alden Woods, December 14, 2017, Arizona Republic: “Marcella Landson set aside her Section 8 voucher and stared at the shaded map of Tempe, searching for the right neighborhood. They all seemed the same. She had come to find a home, but couldn’t even figure out where to look.  At the head of a wide conference table in the city library, Tempe Housing Services supervisor Theresa James held up her own copy of the map. About half of the city was shaded in, marking what was described as prosperity and potential. The rest was left empty, filled only by high poverty and unemployment rates. In those areas, schools performed worse. Houses and apartments sagged with age. Rents were low, but opportunities were few…”

Section 8 Housing – Los Angeles, CA

Up to 600,000 expected to apply when L.A. reopens Section 8 housing list this month after 13 years, By Doug Smith, October 1, 2017, Los Angeles Times: “Lately, home for Tamara Meeks has been the screened-in back porch of a tiny house behind an apartment building near 66th Street and Compton Avenue. At night she slips into the kitchen to sleep on a mover’s blanket while her two dogs sleep under a car seat on the porch. Her arrangement, with the parents of a friend’s friend, is the latest of a string of temporary arrangements Meeks has made during the 13 years she’s been waiting for a Section 8 housing voucher…”

Section 8 Housing Vouchers – California

Despite Section 8, affordable housing’s doors still slamming shut, By David Downey, March 31, 2017, Press-Enterprise: “After reopening last summer following a 13-year absence, Long Beach’s Section 8 housing program is finding plenty of takers. But more than 1,000 voucher holders can’t find a place to live, a report says. And 17,000 others are on a waiting list, said Alison Whyte King, Long Beach Housing Authority bureau manager…”

Section 8 Housing – Seattle, WA

Section 8 tenants flee Seattle’s high rents, compete for housing in smaller cities, By Vernal Coleman, November 18, 2016, Seattle Times: “On a recent Saturday morning, Elmika James settled into a couch inside the subsidized, three-bedroom apartment she fears she could soon lose and began searching for a new home.  She scoured housing websites on her phone, looking over listings friendly to participants in the federal Housing Choice voucher program, otherwise known as Section 8.  Many of the listings were old, the apartments advertised already rented. Others were scams. Some property managers have told her flatly they did not accept the vouchers at all.  James, a 43-year-old UPS package handler and mother of five, said rejection has become part of her daily routine. And she’s not alone…”

Public Housing

The remarkable thing that happens to poor kids when you help their parents with rent, By Max Ehrenfreund, October 12, 2016, Washington Post: “Few programs for the poor are so widely reviled as public housing. For opponents on the right, housing projects are costly monuments to the folly of misguided idealism, stifling residents’ ambition by surrounding them with crime, decay and bureaucracy. For critics on the left, the projects — which were often segregated — became ugly icons of the racism of the white elite, an elite that was unwilling to implement more effective solutions to social problems…”

Section 8 Housing Vouchers – Pittsburgh, PA

For those with Section 8 vouchers, finding suitable housing difficult, By Kate Giammarise, June 20, 2016, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “It can take years to get a Section 8 voucher in Pittsburgh. But it takes just four months to lose it. Pittsburgh’s voucher waiting list has about 5,000 families on it, but once a family gets one, the clock starts ticking. The recipient must find a qualified residence within 120 days and, because of a shortage of units and willing landlords, that’s often very difficult. The Housing Choice Voucher Program, commonly referred to as Section 8, is the largest federal program for assisting low-income people to find affordable housing in the private rental market…”

Section 8 Housing – Minneapolis, MN

Proposal would open more Minneapolis apartments to Section 8 housing vouchers, By Eric Roper, May 11, 2016, Star Tribune: “Landlords can be picky about pets, credit scores and rental history, but Minneapolis officials are looking to bar another common stipulation of apartment listings: ‘No Section 8.’  A proposal by two City Council members would make Minneapolis the first city in the metro area to say landlords cannot turn away tenants solely for paying rent with government housing vouchers. A preliminary meeting with landlords about the idea is slated for Thursday, with a tenant-focused public meeting on Friday.  Council Member Elizabeth Glidden, a co-author of the ordinance, said rejecting applicants who are using vouchers makes unfair generalizations about the program and those who rely on it…”

Affordable Housing and Transportation Costs

Section 8 housing not so affordable once transportation costs are counted, study says, By Brandon Formby, February 19, 2016, Dallas Morning News: “More than two-thirds of supposed affordable housing units in the Dallas area aren’t really that low-cost once transportation expenses are figured in, according to a new study co-authored by a University of Texas at Arlington professor.  The federal measure of a housing unit’s affordability solely looks at whether or not the home’s cost is at or below 30 percent of the residents’ gross income. That threshold is a key part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s section 8 housing vouchers…”

Section 8 Housing – St. Louis, MO

St. Louis passes bills to reduce Section 8 concentration in poor neighborhoods, By Walker Moskop, February 26, 2015, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “The Section 8 housing voucher program is designed to avoid the challenges of concentrated poverty typically associated with traditional public housing. Tenants receive rent subsidy vouchers from a local housing authority and can redeem them anywhere landlords accept them, so long as properties meet certain standards.  In the end, though, most voucher recipients in St. Louis still end up clustered in lower-income communities.  In an attempt to alleviate that concentration, St. Louis passed two measures last week aimed at making it easier for landlords to participate in the program while also banning the practice of rejecting tenants because they have vouchers…”

Section 8 Housing – Oregon

Locked out: Some landlords still turn away Section 8 tenants despite a new anti-discrimination law, By Bennett Hall, October 12, 2014, Corvallis Gazette-Times: “Elizabeth Prevish knew it could be tough to find a house to rent in Corvallis, but she had no idea just how hard it would be when she decided to relocate from Redmond in May. A single mom, Prevish has two sons, ages 3 and 13. The older boy struggles with a serious emotional disorder, and Prevish was thrilled when she got him placed in the Children’s Farm Home for inpatient treatment in January. After months of making the three-hour drive across the mountains to visit her son, she got approval to transfer her federal housing benefits from Deschutes County to the mid-valley — but ran into a brick wall when she tried to use them in Corvallis. So far, she says, half a dozen local landlords have refused to accept her Section 8 voucher — even though such discrimination is illegal under Oregon fair housing laws…”

Public Housing – New York City

Budget cuts reshape New York’s public housing, By Mireya Navarro, September 11, 2014, New York Times: “The crushing news came less than a year after Diane Robinson and her 24-year-old son moved into an airy two-bedroom apartment in the Bronx. The city, which helps pay her rent, wrote this summer to say she would have to downsize into a one-bedroom apartment or pay $240 more a month in rent. A public school aide, Ms. Robinson, 48, decided to stay in the apartment, in the Castle Hill neighborhood. But on an annual income of about $25,000, she is struggling, she said, and she does not know how long she can hang on. Moving to a one-bedroom apartment would mean that her son, a college student who works to help with food and utilities, would have to sleep in the living room. ‘My son works — he’s not entitled to have his own bedroom?’ she said. ‘Next thing they’re going to tell me is that I’m not entitled to a roof over my head…'”

Section 8 Housing – Minnesota

Cuts in federal rent aid are squeezing Minnesota’s poor, By Chris Serres, January 16, 2014, Minneapolis-St. Paul Start Tribune: “Brittannea Stevenson felt like she had ‘won the lottery’ on the day she qualified for federal rental assistance after a two-year wait. A cashier at a Mankato Wal-Mart, Stevenson imagined finally buying her first car and a new pair of work shoes. She spent 60 grueling days scouring the North Mankato area, by public transit and taxi, for an affordable apartment and a landlord willing to accept her rental voucher, which would cover two-thirds of her rent. But her search ended quite unexpectedly two weeks before Christmas, when her unused voucher was revoked because of budget cuts enacted by Congress last year…”

Section 8 Housing Subsidies

Federal rent subsidies vanish for many low-income Minnesotans, By Randy Furst, April 12, 2013, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune: “Corinne Lewis, who is disabled and lives in a rental unit in need of repairs, was on a waiting list for six years to get a rental subsidy under a federal housing program. In February, the Woodbury woman was elated to learn that she, her disabled daughter and a granddaughter finally would receive the subsidy under the Section 8 program. She began hunting for an apartment. Then, last month, Lewis got a second letter from the Metropolitan Council’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority. The agency told her the subsidy was on hold because of a reduction in federal funding due to sequestration — the automatic budget cuts that went into effect starting last month…”

Section 8 Housing – Oregon

Oregon bill would end Section 8 discrimination, By Brad Schmidt, February 5, 2013, The Oregonian: “Discriminating against poor Oregonians because they receive federal Section 8 rent assistance would be forbidden under legislation proposed by new House Speaker Tina Kotek. Housing advocates hope Kotek’s bill gives Section 8 voucher-holders options outside the high-poverty neighborhoods many call home. And they’re optimistic that Kotek’s new influence and collaboration with landlords will overcome the real estate interests that defeated previous proposals. Kotek’s bill would not force landlords to accept voucher-holders. But it would prohibit them from having blanket ‘No Section 8’ policies or from turning away renters only because they have a voucher…”

Financial Literacy Program – Massachusetts

Program teaches working poor ways to save, build credit, By Laura Finaldi, November 29, 2012, Boston Globe: “Meg Alcantara, a single mother of three, was working two jobs, but never getting ahead. She had no savings, lots of overdue bills, and hardly any hope getting a credit card, let alone ever owning a home. Two years later, Alcantara, 49, of Lynn, is working just one job and earning 63 percent more after recently gaining a promotion to office manager at a physical therapy practice. Her credit score has jumped nearly 100 points and she has put away about $5,200 toward a down payment and her dream of owning a home. Alcantara’s journey to financial stability was aided by a partnership of the Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development and a Boston nonprofit that combined an overlooked federal housing program with the financial literacy initiatives of the nonprofit, Compass Working Capital. Known as the Compass Financial Stability and Savings Program, the joint venture provides the tools for subsidy receivers like Alcantara to earn more, save more, build assets, and better their lives…”

Federal Housing Vouchers in Suburban Areas

More low-income residents with housing vouchers are moving to the suburbs, study finds, By Ted Roelofs, October 18, 2011, Grand Rapids Press: “The stereotype of public housing as an inner city landmark is belied in communities across West Michigan, where Grand Rapids ranks No. 9 in the nation’s metropolitan areas for growth in suburban housing vouchers. Equal-access housing advocates maintain the trend is better for both city and suburb alike, affording low-income residents economic opportunity while broadening diversity within the metropolitan area…”

Federal Housing Vouchers in Suburban Areas

Report: People on housing assistance are moving to the suburbs, By Matthew Sturdevant, October 13, 2011, Hartford Courant: “Low-income people who receive federal housing vouchers are moving to the suburbs – a 42 percent increase in metro Hartford between 2000 and 2008, according to a new report. The Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C. think tank, said changes in federal policy during the 1990s gave people who receive housing vouchers more living options…”

Section 8 Housing Vouchers – Tennessee

Tenants, landlords hit hard by cuts in rental aid, By Chas Sisk, September 9, 2011, The Tennessean: “A federal program that helps low-income families pay their housing costs is being squeezed by a weak economy. High demand and federal cuts have stretched the budgets for Section 8 vouchers, payments to landlords that help cover the rent for low-income families. Tennessee agencies have been forced to respond by refusing to take on new families, telling landlords that they cannot increase rents and rolling back the amount they are willing to pay, leaving thousands of tenants to make up the difference. The moves have helped agencies keep as many as 1,000 Middle Tennessee families on the rolls, housing officials say. But they also have kept more people from joining the program, cut into the finances of landlords who rent to low-income families and required those who receive the vouchers to dig deeper for rent…”

Homeless Families – New Jersey, Pennsylvania

  • The hidden homeless: Sheltered in motels, they wait, hope, By Edward Colimore, July 25, 2011, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Sometimes the problems are so overwhelming that Robert Cordero steps away from his children for a few minutes to pull himself together. While two sons and three daughters play in a cluttered Cherry Hill motel room, he turns up the radio, closes the bathroom door, and cries. ‘I can’t let them see me that way. . . . Who will they look up to?’ said the 40-year-old single father. ‘I have to go back and try to raise five kids.’ Cordero’s family has lived at the Hillside Inn for more than five months, along with a couple dozen other homeless people surviving on public assistance. He and his children – ages 8 to 16 – moved there after Cordero lost his home-remodeling job and they were evicted from a Woodlynne apartment…”
  • No place for these students to call home, By Eric G Stark, July 24, 2011, Lancaster Newspapers: “Two boys sleep in a car and use an electric heater to keep warm, running an extension cord into their family’s crowded apartment. A girl showers at her high school rather than endure the long, cold walk to shower at a campground in winter. A family that can’t afford toilet paper resorts to using washcloths, and a boy shares his cousins’ underwear.These are real examples of how some families with children are living in Lancaster County. Just like city schools, where social workers have helped more than 1,000 homeless children this past school year, suburban schools dealt with hundreds more who did not have a permanent place to call home…”

Section 8 Housing – Fresno, CA

Fresno again issues Section 8 housing vouchers, By BoNhia Lee, August 28, 2010, Fresno Bee: “For the first time in more than a year, the Fresno housing authority is handing out Section 8 rental vouchers — giving hundreds of families a long-awaited opportunity to afford a place to live. About 500 families are expected to receive the vouchers in coming months, the authority says. All of those families have been on a waiting list since 2008. That’s a small percentage of those who need a voucher: 22,220 families are on the waiting list. But it represents an unexpected bit of good news for a program that has faced overwhelming demand and funding shortfalls. In other cities, the wait for vouchers is even longer, said Donna White, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban and Development…”