providence village

Renters Face Housing Uncertainty After Providence Village HOA Bans Section 8

The new rules were passed by the Denton County-area HOA earlier this month

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A homeowners association in Denton County will no longer allow Section 8 renters, according to new rental and leasing rules it passed earlier this month.

The government-subsidized rental assistance program allows private landlords to rent apartments and homes to qualified low-income tenants.

Some estimate the HOA’s new rules could displace hundreds of families in the town of Providence Village.

Revisha Threats, a single mom and small business owner, could be one of them.

“I'm going to be homeless. I’m going to use that money that I get back from a deposit and put everything in storage and don't know where to live if I can afford a hotel,” Threats said.

Stephen Smith, a husband and father of three, could be forced out, too. He was a truck driver who’s now disabled.

He says the Section 8 voucher program helped stabilized his family after he was injured on the job.

“As a father, I was happy because I have a chance to still provide for my family. to go to nice schools, to be safe. It felt good,” Smith said.

Providence HOA has thousands of homes in the town of Providence Village.

Earlier this month, the HOA approved new rental and leasing rules including a Section 8 housing restriction, which states, "a rent house may not be used for a Publicly financed or subsidized housing program, such as Section 8 housing."

It says homeowners face a $300 fine per week for an unauthorized rental.

“I cannot think of any other way to sum it up besides discrimination,” Smith said.

NBC 5 called and emailed the Providence HOA but has not heard back.

Jessica Vittorio is an attorney with the Dallas Eviction Advocacy Center, which she says is looking into potential legal consequences of the HOA's actions.

“There is certainly a correlation and disproportionate effect on certain races and ethnicities that are going to become homeless and kicked out of their homes because of this decision and that's what becomes problematic under the law,” Vittorio said.

Homeowners say it’s unclear when the changes are set to take effect.

Smith and Threats say their landlords are on their side and working to try to keep the renters in their homes. They say they've been criticized and threatened as a result of speaking out about their Section 8 status.

Tuesday night, Providence Village Mayor Linda Inman addressed the issue.

“None of these problems are going to be solved if we only fill our comments and everything with hate like I’ve seen,” Inman said.

In a news release Wednesday, the Denton Housing Authority said it was in contact with a group of 81 families and property owners who are impacted by the recent changes made by the Providence Village Homeowners Association.

"Families have been instructed NOT to move and their rights under the lease agreement with the property owner, not the HOA. Families have also been informed of their rights under Fair Housing, and they may file a complaint with the Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity," the release said.

The DHA also said it is working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity to file a Fair Housing Complaint on behalf of the 81 families under the program.

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