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Rental prices are rising; Section 8 vouchers are increasing, but not keeping up

Those using section 8 vouchers say they've also faced discrimination
Posted at 8:07 PM, Sep 16, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — "As I’ve come of age as a young professional in Omaha finding housing this city I can afford has been a challenge," Omaha resident Dawaune Lamont Hayes said. "The cost of rental pricing in Omaha has skyrocketed. Not too long ago, $1,100 was unheard of for anything that wasn’t a house or a mortgage but now it’s become a standard for one bedrooms or studio apartments."

Rent is rising in Omaha. 3 News Now received data from Together, which shows the average rent for an apartment in August of 2019 was $927. In June of 2022, it was $1,101.

Section 8 housing vouchers do offer some help, but with rent rising at the rate it is some residents say the vouchers aren't enough to keep up.

The per tenant cost of a voucher in December of 2019 was $610, in December of 2021 it was $675.

"They want you to make three to four times the rent amount and right now you’re looking at $900 to $1000 for a two-bedroom. So that means that you need to make three to four thousand a month and, let's be real, how many people in this situation [are making that] because if you’re using a housing voucher you’re not making that much money," one resident, said.

We concealed his identity for fear of retaliation.

He applied for a housing voucher after he lost his job during the pandemic.

He told 3 News Now that not only was it a long process to get approved for Section 8, but once he had it, he experienced discrimination. He says, many landlords told him they don't accept vouchers.

"I feel like people don’t look at the voucher program or the people who utilize the voucher program as human beings," he said.

It's one reason Hayes hasn't applied for the program.

"It’s very class-based, its very race-based. There’s a lot of projections on folks who are seeking assistance as well as limitations around being able to use it. Say you do get a voucher — who owns the property and are they going to see me as a whole person because I’m coming with a voucher?" Hayes said.