The following stories show the positive impact that housing assistance has had on the lives of some of HASCO’s clients.
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program gives clients a tenant-based voucher that they can use to live in a rental unit of their choice in the private market. The tenant-paid portion of rent is based on 30% of the household’s adjusted income.
“My name is Diana. I am 36 years old and I have a crippling disease called Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA), which eats my joints, since I was 3 years old. I’ve been hospitalized and had more surgeries than I can even count in my lifetime. And, if that isn’t enough, I’ve also had Fibromyalgia, which attacks my muscles, for the past 12 years. I am unable to work due to these challenges, which puts me on a tight income from Social Security.
“Before I received Section 8 Assistance, life was a “Huge” struggle. I never knew where I was going to live or how I was going to make ends meet. I was able to work before I got the Fibromyalgia but I would have flare ups with my JRA, which would put me in the hospital, making me lose my jobs, in turn making me lose my place to live. I spent a lot of time staying with people but that never lasted very long. Turns out people are always willing to take your money but not willing to help when you get sick.
“Growing up with the JRA, I was always told by doctors that I would be paralyzed and in a wheelchair by the age of 16 and would be in a nursing home-type facility….I would never be able to live or function on my own. But I decided early on that, yes, I have a crippling disease…not a death sentence. I was bound and determined to live as much of a “normal” life as possible and took on life as a challenge.
“I have received Section 8 Assistance for the last 6 years now and I feel so blessed. I no longer have to worry where I’m going to live or how I’m going to make ends meet. I don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen when I get sick or end up in the hospital.
“My life has been full of struggles but, thanks to the Section 8 program, living with my disabilities and all the challenges that come with them has been so much easier to deal with.
“For me, this program has been life changing…a godsend. Thank you, Section 8!”
Lisa writes: “The light that shines inside you is brighter than a thousand suns.”
Lisa came to HASCO in 2008 from Skagit County. Lisa begins her success story by saying that prior to receiving Section 8 assistance she had never lived in an apartment. For Lisa, living in an apartment represented stability. She had lived in trailers and motor homes in her past but realized when she came to HASCO that she was more than capable of understanding the rules and regulations of apartment life and with her housing assistance voucher got to experience what apartment life was like.
Lisa is currently living in a beautiful mobile home that enables her to have pets and interact with the local wildlife that she so adores.
Lisa ends her success story by stating: “I will always stay a viable person for the community and help wherever I can. You are my hero!”
“When my health went, I was devastated. My future in my mind led to living in a room in a house – not in a decent area – a bag lady that would live in a underpass with my shopping cart! Then my life was blessed with a slot in housing! After one or two living places, I found the place! I’ve been here several years. The grounds are unbelievable – the homes are excellent. I don’t feel poor anymore! This is a beautiful place to call “home” and be proud!
I’m sure many others feel the same, but I hope you find a few minutes to read this and realize what a blessing, a change in someone’s life and enables us to have a place we can call “home.” Thank you so much for your help over the years.”
A graduate of Edmonds High School, Carla and her boyfriend moved to Spokane where she attended college. After completing a college course in January 2001 she suffered from a brain aneurism. It was 7 PM that day and she was fortunate that her boyfriend was home as he works days. He was able to revive her and the next thing Carla knew she was in the hospital when she woke up…she did not know what happened. Carla later found out she had an aneurism.
Carla remembers both of her grandmothers had an aneurism and it was really traumatic for her. Carla stayed in a nursing home (not far from Spokane) for 1 month and she said, “It [the nursing home] was in the middle of a corn field”. Carla was released to return to her parents’ home in Edmonds to recuperate and participate in physical therapy. Nine months from the last aneurism, Carla had another one. Carla experiences short-term memory loss but her recall of events is coming back.
While living in Edmonds, Carla later met a fellow friend who knew about HASCO’s vouchers for disabled persons. Carla applied at HASCO in January 2002 and also with Seattle Housing Authority (HA). Seattle HA had just opened their waitlist and Carla was fortunate to be placed on their list. Carla remembered that her name came up first at HASCO and received the Section 8 Assistance in August 2002. 2 ½ years later Carla’s name came to the top of Seattle HA list, which she no longer needed.
Carla states, “If it wasn’t for housing I don’t know if my family would have been able to take care of me. I need the help and there was a time when I was depressed.” In recent times, Carla’s medical condition requires that she use a dialysis machine due to further complications with her health.
Carla further states, “Walt at the Housing Authority helped me to get where I am now. I have a case manager through DVR who helps me with trying to locate part-time work and helps me with my paperwork and other personal affairs. My house is now a home and I love my home. This is a blessing to have Section 8 and I don’t want to see the program go away. I am very fortunate and believe God is good.”