Here's a photo of Amelia's new place at The Gardens at Quail Run Apartments in Elk Grove. Last month, Amelia moved into one of the 96-unit affordable housing complexes that are set to house around 200 residents. It was a long strenuous journey for her to find housing. Luckily, SSHH's program and her persistence were there to help.
Everyone has barriers to permanent housing. Your income, credit score, family situation, and unfortunately, gender and ethnicity can either be a hindrance or a benefit when applying for a mortgage, submitting a rental application, or putting a downpayment on a home. Amalia, who’s giving the “thumbs up,” in the photo here struggled to find housing because the barriers continued to compile.
Amelia is a single mother of 3 whose previous partner ruined her credit score. She works more than full-time. In 2020, the house she rented for 5 years was sold and is now under new out-of-state ownership. After poor communication from the owner, she was asked to leave with little notice to find housing for her family and adjust her Housing Choice Voucher information. She spent $3,000 on 35 rental applications to no avail. No one wanted to rent to her because her family was too big, her credit was poor, and she received a Housing Choice Voucher.
“I know it’s illegal to discriminate on family size and Section 8 when applying for housing. But when you live in your car, work full time, and your children are couch surfing, you don't have time or extra money to sit on hold with the Housing Authority or a fair housing attorney. You just have to move forward.”
Another complex barrier was the increasing cost of security deposits and meeting the rental income requirements. “In most situations, it was impossible for me to pay 3 months rent and a security deposit and make 3x the rent in income on a home appropriate for the size of my family.” On top of this, Amelia struggled to communicate with resources regarding her Housing Choice Voucher.
In a streak of luck, through a 2-1-1 referral, Amelia connected to Elk Grove HART and SSHH’s Transitional Housing Program. After 2 months on the street, she moved into Elk Grove’s Transitional House for families. Here, she was reunited with her children and lived rent-free.
Now her family could live their lives again. Her children attended school while she went to work. They slept with a roof over their head and a safe place to eat dinner as a family. Amelia saved her earnings and built back her credit score. With her case manager's help, she applied to live in the new affordable housing complex in Elk Grove. Luckily she was accepted.
After the turbulent journey of housing insecurity, Amelia is looking forward. She is continuing to work to improve her credit score. She would like to one day own a home.
If you are or believe you are being discriminate against, please call SSHH's Renters Helpline at 916-389-7877