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'I don't know what to do and where to go': Tri-State family struggling to find home with housing choice voucher

Stephanie Payne and granddaughter Mekyla Smith
Posted at 12:07 AM, Dec 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-07 00:11:30-05

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio — One Springfield Township family is facing homelessness, struggling to find a new place that will accept their housing choice voucher.

Stephanie Payne stays home to provide the 24-hour care required for her granddaughter Mekyla, who has cerebral palsy.

"Her name is MeMe, my everything," Payne said. "Mekyla requires a lot — she's got to have room for all of her machines, all of her equipment."

Now, Payne said she and her granddaughter will not have anywhere to go starting Tuesday. Payne said her current landlord is planning to sell the property. Though she has known since April, Payne said she is struggling to find a new place that will accept her housing choice voucher, commonly known as Section 8.

"I'm very nervous because I don't know where I'm going to live," Payne said. "I don't know where I'm going to be. They'll put her in the hospital. I don't know how long they'll let her stay in the hospital."

Advocates who support people experiencing homelessness say people with vouchers run into this problem often.

"It's actually a fairly common problem that people with a voucher still can't find an apartment because they can't find a property owner who's willing to take that voucher," said Kevin Finn, president of Strategies to End Homelessness. "Very often they'll decide to rent to somebody who does not have Section 8 because there's less bureaucracy and less requirements on them to do that."

Payne and her family are hoping the community can help them find somewhere to stay, raising money through GoFundMe to help with housing costs.

"Right now, I don't know what to do and where to go," Payne said. "We need a palace for this princess right here."

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