Growing Number of Basin Landlords Unwilling to Accept Housing Subsidy Vouchers

Growing Number of Basin Landlords Unwilling to Accept Housing Subsidy Vouchers

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

ODESSA- On Saturday, the Housing Authority of the City of Odessa will re-open their wait list for subsidy housing vouchers, which it only does a few times each year. It's great news for many but it still doesn't solve the office's growing problem with their depleting bank of participating landlords.

Counselor Inspector, Diana Guerra, spends day after day helping low-income locals in their search for housing, which is oftentimes a deflating process.

"It's hard. Sometimes I have to take a break because it's so emotional," Guerra said.

There around 170 people on the wait list for subsidy housing vouchers, but the Housing Authority is re-opening that list this weekend in the anticipation that many folks who were on it have moved on.

Once you get a voucher, it can be a nightmare trying to find a landlord willing to accept its low dollar figure.

Housing Authority Executive Director, Bernadine Spears, says, "Our program is kind of limited based upon the market because the rents are so much higher in the local market than what we can actually subsidize locally."

Another major problem is that the pool of landlords who've traditionally helped out is shrinking. In just the past year, a hundred or so have dropped off the list of participants, likely because the rent checks coming from folks in the energy industry are bigger than checks coming from the government.

NewsWest 9 asked Spears if it's all driven by greed.

"Well, it is what it is. They're there for a profit. If you've got a business to run, you're going to run that business to the best of your ability," Spears said.

The Housing Authority is asking basin landlords to please consider taking a small cut to help lend the community a hand.

"I would like to see them step up to the plate and say, 'Yes, we will continue to participate in your program' because there are people out there that actually need the assistance who can't find anything within a 150 mile radius. There's nothing out there," Spears said.

The first 125 people who show up on Saturday will be considered for the housing voucher wait list. For more information call (432) 333-1088.