Help Those Effected By Mass Evictions

Help Those Effected By Mass Evictions

From Roderick Boyd

The People's House was established to provide rent free transitional housing for the homeless , particularly veterans and the disabled. We are but one more hammer chipping away at a crisis that cannot be overlooked.

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Pretty much everyone is familiar with Section 8. For some, it holds negative connotations. America is suffering from an attitude problem where some feel giving to someone else means taking away from me. Despite the naysayers, Section 8, now referred to as the Housing Choice Voucher, is a lifeline for many who would be homeless without it. The HCV is an attempt at scattering recipients across a given community rather than one single project. The projects have a long sordid history with an array of ills, not the least of was HUD's inability to properly maintain.

The one aspect of the Housing Choice Voucher most are unaware of is the Homeowners program. This program allows qualified recipients to use their voucher to apply the same amount of rent monies to pay for a mortgage. This is a fabulous opportunity for people who otherwise couldn’t afford a home, to become homeowners. There is also assistance with down payments and maintenance. But like any well meaning government program, the Homeowners provision has two pitfalls. The first is for Public Housing Agencies, PHA's, participating is optional. Whenever you give a government agency the option of not doing something, usually that is what they’ll choose. The few select locations that do participate tend to be in higher priced markets. This is unfortunate as the Homeowners program is a perfect fit for rural communities seeking to increase their tax base. In rural communities, the recipient can get significantly more house for the buck.

The second pitfall is banks are unfamiliar with the process, so they shy away from financing homes bought with the HCV. This is because far too many government employees feel promoting said program isn’t their job. What is a shame, and something I have been trying to rectify, is two tweaks to the program would solve these issues. Why go to the effort? You may have not noticed, but the US is in a housing crisis. COVID has only served to intensify that crisis. If recipients could get into homes of their own, this, the affordable units they currently occupy would open up for another tenant. The other benefit is to the taxpayers. Mortgage payments tend to be less than rents saving funds that can be used for another voucher.

What I propose is the creation of one central office to administer the recipients choosing to participate in the Homeowners program. This would remove the unnecessary blockage prohibiting recipients from buying a home where ever they desire. Secondly, offer a guaranteed loan. Bankers love guaranteed payments making it much easier for the buyer to finance. A significant number of participants in the HCV program are disabled. The disabled have been ignored and overlooked for far too long and deserve their due. Additionally, mobile impaired participants require modifications for access. The nation has a severe shortage of accessible apartments. Landlords shy away from them due to the additional cost.

I have tried making this case for over a decade. Apparently, our legislators have no interest in serving a segment of constituents that don’t increase their personal wealth, so I am presenting it to you, the court of public opinion. It is my deep desire the American people will stand up for those who cannot stand.

The sad truth is many of those on the HCV live with one foot out the door. The single best thing that can be done for the disabled community is the gift of stability. I hope you will join me in calling for adjustments to the Housing Choice Voucher program and make the American dream a reality for the disabled.

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