Airway Heights, Wash. – A family in Airway Heights is fighting to keep their apartment. It’s all after the Federal Housing and Urban Development Agency changed Section 8 rules. It now requires the mom and her teenage son to share a room in order to get more housing support.
Michelle Ortiz and her son share a two bedroom apartment. She’s on Section 8 and is currently unemployed. Right now, Spokane Housing Authority pays most of her rent.
But HUD just cut the funding it gives to agencies like the Spokane Housing Authority. To keep the same amount of assistance, even numbered families must have two people per bedroom, meaning Ortiz would share a room with her son.
Spokane Housing Authority’s executive director Steve Cervantes said the agency’s trying to help as many people as it can, despite the lack of funding. Cervantes also said these new rules will likely affect 60 percent of its clients.
As for Ortiz, she said if she chose to stay in their two bedrooms, her rent would go up $156. With no work, she says she can't afford it. She said finding a one bedroom apartment that accepts Section 8 is also difficult.
“I don't understand how my son and I being homeless are going to make us that much less of a burden on the community,” said Ortiz.
Spokane Housing Authority says it let its clients know of the impending change about a year ago. It wasn’t made final however, until the new year.
The agency offers an appeals process. Ortiz said she is giving it a shot.
The new occupancy rules go into effect next month.