My Thoughts About Section 8
The waiting list for the section 8 housing assistance program in my county just ended. As a former social worker and long-time resident of Cincinnati, I have some thoughts about this program. For some people, it's a life saver. These people have struggled in their lives and no matter how hard they tried, they still faced homelessness on more than one occasion. My brother is one of those people. So is my stepmother. They just aren't going to have stable housing unless they get help.
My younger brother is living with friends but has been homeless. He has bipolar disorder and doesn't really want to be tied down to any specific place. Right now he is in Arizona, I think. My stepmother doesn't have many job skills and when she gets a job, she can't keep it. She has health problems that prevent her from going to work sometimes and an ex-husband who did everything he could to prevent her from getting social security for her sickle cell anemia. I'm sure there are many more people like these two in America.
There are other people though, who can be hurt by this program. Young people who have hopes and dreams might not benefit from a housing program that bases your rent on your income. I think the program takes away the will to do better. If I can get a really nice house for a few buck a month while I work a part-time job, why would I strive for more when I could risk losing the benefit and having to live in a modest home while I pay the market rate for rent? There are no restrictions for how long a family can stay in the program -- just income limits that can force a family to fend for themselves.
My daughter is a terrible candidate for section 8. She is 22 and has been in the National Guard for almost 4 years. She was recently promoted to sergeant. She only originally enlisted for six years and I've been trying to convince her for the past three to switch to active duty. She has a baby now and doesn't want to risk being deployed and being away from her little girl for an extended amount of time. Her boyfriend doesn't work and would have no problem living in assisted housing for the rest of his life. He sees the benefit of it because his own mother has been in the section 8 program since he was a young boy. At a time when my daughter is at least ready to re-enlist in the National Guard, this program would be detrimental to her and her young family.
In my opinion, section 8 takes away a recipient's will to strive for more.