If you live within 100 miles of San Francisco or San Jose, California and rent, you are well aware of the housing crisis going on. But it’s much worse if you’re like me and on Section 8 Housing Assistance. The federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the federal Fair Housing Act Amendments Act of 1988 prohibit discrimination on the basis of the following criteria (called “protected categories”): race or color; religion; national origin; familial status or age—includes families with children under the age of 18 and pregnant women; disability or handicap, or sexual orientation. (Nolo) Yet it’s somehow okay to NOT rent to those who are poor and receive housing assistance from the federal government. How do renters get away with this obvious discrimination?
For the longest time, ever since I began on Section 8 in 2013, I just took it for granted that it was okay that I was being discriminated against. In fact, up until this morning, I figured it was fair to allow each renter to decide whether or not they wanted to accept renters who are on Federal Assistance because they can decide who they want to rent to anyway. Then I realized they can’t pick and choose whom they rent to. That’s illegal, as stated in the above paragraph. So then why is it still legal for them to discriminate against someone just because they happen to be on Public Assistance?
If a renter allows Section 8 renters, they are guaranteed most of the rent, paid on the 1st, by the federal government. My rent is currently $1000 for a 350 square foot apartment with no garbage disposal, no dishwasher, no air conditioning, no ceiling fan in the bedroom, no patio, no laundry services or machines, plenty of cockroaches, beetles, moths, spiders and plenty of crime. But because I pay more for healthcare monthly than I do for rent, my rent is only $294. However, the Property Manager still gets the remaining $704 from the federal government every month on the first, but I can’t pay my portion until my Social Security comes through on the 3rd. But the Property Manager still receives $1000/month. Why don’t all renters participate in this program?
I had been on a waiting list for a 2 bedroom apartment in another part of town. I got on the list in January 2017. I called every month around the 1st to see if anyone was vacating a 2 bedroom, downstairs unit (I’m disabled and have a very hard time walking up stairs). About March 2017, a male answered and told me that I was on the list so I needed to stop calling. I called back in May and was assured I was still on the list. I called and left a message every other month after that, just to stay on their radar. But since I was getting voicemail only, I pressed star 67 so they didn’t know who was calling. I finally got a hold of a person in February 2018. She told me I wasn’t on the list. I told her about the male who answered the year before and she said no males worked in the office. I asked to be put back on the list, but she said her assistant, who had just purged a bunch of names needed to call me first. It’s April 10th and I’ve yet to hear from said assistant.
I really want to move back to Village Green Apartments because in addition to central heating and air, dishwasher, patio, they now have washer/dryer units in each apartment! I’d love a 2 bedroom so I could set up my office in the 2nd bedroom, an also have a place for friends to crash. If I had an office set up, I could begin working from home. That would help me tremendously. But for now it’s a pipe dream because Village Green won’t accept Section 8 Housing and the other place that does, won’t put me on the waiting list again.
So I’ll go home again with the bugs, lack of dishwasher, air conditioner, ceiling fan, garbage disposal and crime.
Because it’s still legal to discriminate against poor people.