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200 calls and no rental: 80-year-old struggles to find housing

On The Money-NerdWallet-Renters Insurance Surprises
Posted at 10:19 PM, Apr 11, 2022

While a lot of renters are struggling, few are hurting more than those dependent on Section 8 government housing assistance. Many are losing their homes and can't find anywhere accepting vouchers.

Margaret is one of those people. The 80-year old is tired, physically and emotionally, from struggling to find a new home.

"I'm on the computer from the time I get up at seven in the morning till two to three in the afternoon, then go and eat something and go and start all over again," Margaret said.

She counts on it to pay a big part of her rent. But Villa Montana apartments in Scottsdale, Arizona, her home of 19 years, notified Margaret they no longer take Section 8 vouchers.

Another renter forced to move

And she can't find any place that does accept the vouchers.

"This just hasn't happened to me before and I don't know which way to turn," she says.

After this story aired on television, dozens of people reached out with suggestions. They ranged from links with property listings to programs that help renters to people looking for roommates.

We sent them all to Margaret.

"I've had so many responses and numbers to call. I've called over 200 numbers now," she tells me.

But still, no luck.

"We don't accept it anymore. That's what most of them say," Margaret recalls.

So, Margaret paid $1,400 out of her own pocket to stay one more month in hopes of finding something. In this very tight housing market, more owners know they can get more money with fewer potential Section 8 hassles.

It's leaving people like Margaret on years-long waiting lists or taking anything they can get.

"There's no choosing which is better, or which is worse. It's just accepting what's available," she says.

Margaret and her daughter were in Mesa, Arizona after they discovered some potentially good news. They were looking at a place that apparently had a Section 8 opening.

While it would be miles from her life of 19 years, Margaret is hopeful but cautious.

She was asked what she would do if it doesn't work out.

"Then I'm up the creek without a paddle," she says.

The Mesa apartment is open, does accept Section 8 and she's going through the process of applying right now.

If it doesn't work out, Margaret knows she's better off than many since she has children nearby. But she still wants a place of her own.