A new study reveals the extensive barriers minority families face when trying to move out of a poverty.
Inclusive Community Project president Demetria McCain surveyed North Texas apartment complexes and found that hundreds of landlords refused to accept federally funded Housing Choice Vouchers.
“Our non-profit helps families get out of areas of concentrated poverty,” she said. “They are begging for suggestions of where they might call, and even the Housing Authority is having problems of getting people leased up.
McCain said her clients are on waiting lists for months to move into different apartments.
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"These are families who would like better opportunities for their kids," she said. "They want things like better schools, safer parks, grocery stores, and they don’t want to live next to environmental hazards."
The Inclusive Community Project usually conducts the survey every two years, but this year McCain decided to extend and deepen the study. The survey took a year and a half to conduct. She reached out roughly 2,600 privately owned apartments in north Texas, and heard back approximately 1,900.
“I asked them a simple questions ‘do you accept section 8 housing choice vouchers?’ and I got more nos than yeses in many parts of the Metroplex,” she said.
The results of the survey showed that of the privately owned complexes she contacted, hundreds of them said they would not accept housing vouchers, therefore shutting out her clients from moving to certain North Texas cities. All the complexes within 26 cities refused to accept families with vouchers. According to McCain, this response reinforces and perpetuates segregated communities and points to housing policies that need to change.
“We’re not even talking about someone with a poor rental history, we’re talking about someone being denied before they could apply, and that’s an issue and a concern," she said. "Dallas has had its issues with segregation in the past. The results of this survey show that our current housing policies have yet to remove that segregation. That needs to change. These are parents, mothers and fathers, who just want their children to thrive.”