Desperately Seeking HousingApril 18, 2023 Category: Feature, Featured, Housing, Q&A
In each of our monthly series, we ask our readers and our community what they are experiencing and what is needed. Here are some of the insights shared during our series on housing and homelessness from those in need of housing locally and trying to navigate the systems our nonprofits and governments have put in place.
K.H – Delaware County
“I have spent my entire adult life helping people who were homeless or on the verge of becoming homeless and know the systems that have been put in place to help. I have received feedback about my family’s struggles. Now I am trying to navigate those systems myself.
Being on the other side of this process, I now know why those I have helped give up when they seek help. Because of this experience, I turned to an agency for help finding housing. This agency told me to drive around and look for “For Rent” signs, as they had no staff to help find housing, and then contact these homeowners. I was told to come back as soon as I found an apartment and they would help me with the deposit. However, the procedure for this assistance is for the homeowner to fill out the contract form and return it to the agency. The agency reviews the application for assistance and then tells me if they will cover the deposit. I search the Internet for rental apartments, visit a property, and then learn that I have to pay three times the rent to qualify for the housing. Never mind that I can afford the rent and have a good credit score. Then I find an apartment that I qualify for, but I do not have the deposit. This is despite the fact that I work full time. I have paid fees to apply for rent, put my stuff in storage, pay for transportation to and from work, and buy groceries (we live in an apartment provided by an agency, but they do not help with groceries or anything). I go to the agency again to apply for help with a deposit, and again they say you have to find a place to live first. I explain that there are many people looking for housing. The rental agencies and homeowners will take whoever gives them the money they need first. Therefore, I do not get any of the apartments because I do not have the required money. I am told, yes, that is the risk you are taking. I am told again to drive around like they did when they found the house they are living in now. I do not have a vehicle right now, so how am I supposed to drive around? I ask if I should go to another agency. They tell me they can not help either, but I can call if I want. I call and leave messages with another agency. After several calls I am still waiting for a call back”
From our Partners
“The process of searching and being vetted for housing feels like it is missing the humanity of it. It is automated and feels intrusive and almost violent and challenging to find the type of spaces that meet my needs and is cost effective. There is a lot of anxiety around potential to be pushed out because of rising costs and not qualifying for government services as I’m not considered someone who is living below the poverty level.”
R.P – Philadelphia
“Yes I was in rapid rehousing then was permanent housing p and did all my paperwork it was during the holidays it was supposed to be a jbj homes on 14th and Fairmont and it was the week of Christmas and they denied me because they said the paperwork didn’t get there on time I feel that’s a bunch of nonsense because it says in small print that you don’t need paperwork when you first move in and then they I can actually sue them if I wanted to so now I’m on the street once again because of the house and situations I need housing I am this I have a disability now I got more disabilities that was hit by a car please and somebody get back in touch with me.”
“I think that there need to be a cap put on these landlords who are renting and going up on the rent 2x a year just because they can. They start at $50 and go up twice a year at that price and the next year it is $100. That is usery. The rent is so high people who are renting can just pay rent, no gas on and electric off not to mention the water. Yes, landlords want you to pay the water bill not the usage. But you are only making max $12 an hour and most less. People are taking 3 kids and moving into rooms. Hurts my soul. Kids can’t study because lack of sleep, housing situation and more. There should be a law against this.”
If you organization has solutions or can help, please contact us and we will share with those that have provided their information.