Section 8 housing applicant says she's facing discrimination

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Susana Vieira has lived in a Fresno County home with her son for about 12 years. But she is now being told she has to move because the owner no longer wants to participate in the Section 8 Program.

"It's taken a very very big toll on me emotionally just to try and find a place to live," Vieira told Action News.

She's been searching for weeks, writing down each apartment she's visited, applied and paid for credit checks but is running into walls.

"They have a very condescending attitude towards people on Section 8. There is a very big stigma attached to it, they (property management companies) think we are all low class people and not trust worthy," she said.

"It's a form of discrimination because we also deserve to have fair housing prices and we also deserve to have a safe environment and a sanitary environment to live at."

She says management companies either don't have any openings or are not accepting Section 8 Vouchers.

According to the Fresno Housing Authority, finding housing with a Section 8 voucher is tough -- and they know it's a problem.

Thousands of families go through an extensive process to get a housing voucher and have just a few months to find a place, but it doesn't always work out.

There are several steps before a family can move in that landlords are opting out of.

"We are seeing a very tight housing market and a landlord is able to make a choice between a family with a voucher and a family without a voucher and is going towards the households without a voucher because they don't have to go through the Housing Authorities paperwork, the inspects, the delays it takes to initially send the first check," said Fresno Housing Authority CEO Preston Prince.

However, the housing authority is working on different ways to help families get a roof over their head.

They have plans to host a fair to educate landlords and potential landlords about the program as well as bringing in extra staff to meet with families who've been searching for housing for months.
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