Sunday, April 23, 2017

Section 8 Housing

Section 8 Housing
Section 8 housing is a federal program that provides affordable housing to those with low income. There is a selection process involved that determines one’s own and, if applicable, family’s gross income. Should one meet the criteria for Section Eight housing, a local housing authority will try to find a place in the limited sections that best fit their needs. However, there is a waiting list that is further exacerbated by the limited resources available to the HUD and local housing agencies.  
I became curious of what it was like to talk to people about applying for housing and the process involved. I found an apartment complex out in Athens, Illinois. There I called the number I found associated with that place and after a brief discussion I was given another number to call. I also had to ask for a specific person in regards to this phone call. So, I called the number and asked for this person. I was met by shifty voice that just said “I’m sorry, ill connect you to them.” I can assume quite accurately that this person took pity on me, which got my blood pressure going. Now, I didn’t need the housing, this was just a curiosity. But to speak down to to someone, is not right. 
What came next was the application itself I received in the mail. This application is pretty daunting and requires numerous details about one’s specific history. Which is fair, considering the nature of this program. What can be bad is that they have a zero drug policy and if one is caught selling, using, or distributing you will be evicted. What happens if a person just has a momentary relapse, which is expected of recovering addicts, and now they are back on the street? That is not conducive to a just society to push them back towards drugs by taking away their home.    

Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) and public housing both try to assure communities that the residents will be law-abiding and upstanding citizens.  Also, rules try to protect residents so they will not live in a community where addictive substances are widely used and available. For these reasons, which seem logical enough to me, people who use public housing or housing assistance must submit to some tough restrictions on their use of illegal mind-and-mood-altering substances. On the other hand, just as you point out, the penalty of removing someone from their home and taking away their housing assistance seems too harsh, and possibly a violation of human rights.  A referral to treatment seems a better solution than immediate eviction. 

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