Housing vouchers no longer being accepted at apartment complex

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Houston's costs are soaring and now people on government assistance are getting left out in the cold (KTRK)

A Southwest Houston man says he's been kicked out of his apartment because his landlord is no longer accepting the government vouchers he uses to pay rent.

He's one of more than 17,000 people in Houston who depends on the vouchers. And another 60,000 are on the waiting list.

Until last week, Eric lived at Victoria Place Apartments near Fondren and Westheimer. He says when the complex changed owners last year; he found out months later that they'd no longer accept his low-income housing voucher. He had less than two months to find a new place that met his needs.

"I want to be able to get to the doctor, get to church, get to a grocery store, do basic things that people take for granted," he says. "And I'd like to be able to do it on a bus line because I don't drive right now."

That proved to be a difficult task.

"I'm thinking about the waiting lists that are three and four months backed up, the few places that are accepting them now because their management has changed," he explains.

"If you look at the construction that's going on in front of the complex where he lived, there's a new complex going up. There's a new economy being shaped and he's not conducive to that. He's not a part of that plan," says friend and community activist Ashton P. Woods.

Woods tells Eyewitness News there are a whole lot of people in Eric's situation being forced out of the neighborhoods they love.

"In other words, you get priced out and pushed to the outskirts."

"Oftentimes it's not the landlords' decision to accept or not to accept that's the limiting factor," explains Houston Housing Authority President/CEO Tory Gunsolley. "It's what are they able to charge for rent."

Gunsolley says that figure is steadily rising, and his hands are tied.

"If they're able to charge for rent is $1,500 a month and I'm only offering $1,000 a month, no reasonable landlord is gonna take it on the chin to do that."

We're told about 5,400 landlords accept the vouchers in the city. The Housing Authority is working to get that number up in more desirable neighborhoods so people in Eric's situation can have more options.

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