Soaring rents in North Texas threaten people on housing assistance

But all these efforts have still not resulted in a suitable place to live. Jones sought a new unit because Dallas County said she could not stay in her apartment while receiving housing assistance. The county no longer has a contract with Hillcrest due to the terms, according to its director of public health.

Jones is a recipient of housing assistance through the federally funded Housing Choice Voucher program. The program requires people receiving assistance to have apartments inspected before moving in. They must also find units in a specific price structure.

Beneficiaries say the most recent standards, set in October, are inadequate due to skyrocketing rents over the past year.

“During that time I was trying to find somewhere, my voucher expired,” Jones said. “We have nowhere to go.”

Jones raised his concerns in Dallas County Commissioners Court earlier this week.

“Can we have more time?” she asked the commissioners. “What can we do to increase the list of costs? Because if we know that they are increasing the cost of living, why not increase the cost of the price list so that we can have access to these apartments?

List of apartments indicates that year-over-year percentage rent increases for several North Texas cities are in the two digits, including Dallas (17.4%), Plano (21%) and Mesquite (15.2%).

Jones has had his bond extended more than once. She first waited for Hillcrest to find her a new unit. When that failed, she looked elsewhere. Late Wednesday, Jones told KERA that his voucher had been extended again until the end of July.

Another Hillcrest resident, Karen Chatmon, said she also had a late July deadline.

“You should give us a year to find somewhere,” Jones said in an interview. “If you know there’s no affordable housing, there’s nowhere to stay… It’s going to take us more than six months.

Dallas County Health and Human Services is just one of the local agencies that operates the voucher program. Manager Philip Huang said he was aware rents were rising, but caps were set by the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

Huang said the federal government would reassess those limits if more than 40% of families receiving vouchers in a ZIP code spent more than 30% of their adjusted monthly income on their share of rent.

“That’s when the maximum grant change is corrected by HUD,” Huang said.

Huang’s staff told him that county data did not show numbers that would cause HUD’s payment caps to change. His staff also did not see a pattern of apartment complex inspections failing.

“We don’t want people to live in places that aren’t safe and healthy,” he said.

The City of Mesquite is suing the owners of the Hillcrest Apartments, a lawsuit the union recently joined. The owner and the city have agreed on a court order that city code violations must be fixed by June 10.

“For years, the city has received complaints from residents about lack of heating, air conditioning, hot water and other property management issues,” Mesquite City Manager Cliff Keheley said in a statement. a letter sent to residents in February.

Do you have any advice? Email Bret Jaspers at [email protected]. You can follow Bret on Twitter @bretjaspers.

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