Reader offers critique of Section 8 program

To the editor:

     My unit has minor issues that need repairs. The repairs have NOT been done since the last TWO inspections! I have let Section 8 know several times. I have showed the property manager 12 times since he got this house in January. I let him in my unit. I have given written notices and still nothing is fixed.

     They fixed the windows in here, and they were NOT installed correctly. They need to be redone. They were not caulked, and the property manager is well aware of this. The window guys were UNPROFESSIONAL, from Craigslist. Gas bills are $200 a month in winter! Weather elements come right through windows, walls, and woodwork. There are three-inch gaps under all doors, etc.

     There is mouse feces in the silverware drawer, and several minor things need doing. Now they are not doing this on purpose, to force me out of here. This is how they get Section 8 tenants out! This house is not even worth $715 a month, let alone $1,050 a month! THEY FIX NOTHING.

     They fixed and remodeled the downstairs and did a bunch of stuff on the outside. BUT they NEVER fixed what the inspection failed them for in my unit! They left a tree that crashed into the fence, and it has been there since January.

     They are trying to raise the rent again, on a Section 8 unit. One investor bought this house, fixed my toilet, and then raised my rent from $500 a month to $715 a month in 2020. She told me she had to pay for the repairs. Section 8 told me on top of my rent portion that I would have to pay the $215 raise. They said they don’t pay for raises in rent. I DIDN’T get a raise in my income. So, this makes no sense!

     So, the landlord is raising my rent again when my lease is up. I have been here for 12 years. Now I will have to move. Now Section 8 is saying because I am here on a one-bedroom voucher, and this is a two-bedroom apartment, that I will have to move to a one-bedroom if they raise the rent. What kind of sense does that make? Their rules are ridiculous. Their inspections make no sense. Someone needs to evaluate the Section 8 program. They need to see how many people lose their vouchers because they can’t find a landlord to rent to them. They need to see the reasons WHY poor people are losing vouchers that they NEED! Section 8’s answer for EVERYTHING is “then just move.”

     Section 8 is well-aware there are NO LANDLORDS to take vouchers! Someone needs to find out WHY they are doing this to people. I can’t afford doubled and tripled rent prices!

     I can’t apply for Eden, and I have mental disabilities. They are not taking any new people for three years now! I can’t wait for disability because I must work. I don’t qualify ANY of the buildings which Section 8 tells me to move to. There are two to five year waiting lists for buildings! I am also not disabled, or 55 to 65, which are the requirements for these buildings. I also have SEVERE Social Anxiety and can’t live in a building with hundreds of people. Section 8 does NOT CARE and does not accommodate this issue. They are not even trained to talk to people with mental issues, depression, anxiety, etc.

     Section 8 also NEVER offers the rent amount that the landlords want. They ALWAYS offer less, even after the doubled and tripled rent increases they offer less! Then they tell you that if you can’t pay the difference to cover the rest of the rent amount that they won’t pay! This makes no sense. If we WERE allowed to pay the difference, and still have our Section 8 help, then PEOPLE WOULDN’T END UP HOMELESS because there are NO LANDLORDS TO CHOOSE FROM. They ALL DISCRIMINATE ON THE WAY I HAVE TO PAY MY RENT!! Section 8 is well-aware of this. They make it worse. If you ask 15 people at Section 8 one question, you will get 15 different answers. They are ruining this program for people who need it. I will be homeless. I have had SEVERAL panic attacks, loss of appetite, and suffer from insomnia because of the two years of new owners, I HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT BEING HOMELESS. I have a bad heart too, and all they do is stress me out over this. AND NOBODY CARES.

     I turned in my change of income, and I make less now than last year. Section 8 has NEVER given me my new rent amount.  I have been waiting since February. I NEVER received anything! So, there’s a HUGE possibility that they will say they sent me something with my new rent amount, and I’d be ten months behind on my rent amount. So, either way I look at it, I will end up homeless after 12 years here, and tripled rent prices that I can’t afford.

Ms. Johnson

P.S. There is more stuff going on with the housing in Cleveland than you are writing about.

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