ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The number of families in need of housing in Roanoke has increased during the pandemic, according to the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority officials.
Before the pandemic began, the housing authority in Roanoke was serving around 200 families, but now they are serving 1,500 families locally.
Unfortunately, the properties accepting the Housing Choice Vouchers, also known as Section 8, are completely full. The vouchers provide federal funding to low-income families to assist them with rent.
In many cases, families have a hard time qualifying for homes during the application process because many properties require folks to make a certain percentage more than the rent. Officials with the housing authority explained that, in many cases, properties do not account for the fact that tenants who qualify for the vouchers would only have to be able to cover their portion of the rent, with the government’s assistance.
Some officials said people are taking advantage of the moratorium, and choosing not to leave, without paying rent.
According to Lyn Relf, the Housing Choice Voucher Manager for the city, “Unfortunately there are some folks who decide to take advantage of those COVID waivers and not pay anything. So, our landlords can’t evict families and they can’t get new families who are able to pay, where we can also assist with the rent. And we’re also just out of units.”
However, Relf says landlords are needed badly. Providing families in need with housing provides them with so much more.
“Not only do our families need help. It’s help all around. Once you have a housing foundation to build on, you can set higher goals for yourself. Not just for yourself, but for your family.”
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