Denver landlords increasingly turning away Section 8 tenants

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DENVER — Lisa Salazar has called Colorado home for 20 years, but she may have reached her limit.

She’s been homeless for a month after a rent increase at her last place forced her out.

Now, she can’t find anyone to accept her Section 8 renting assistance voucher.

“I just think [Denver] rent is outrageous. And all the people coming here are moving into nice places, and we are kicked out on the street,” said Salazar, a Denver native.

Loretta Owens works with families desperately looking for affordable housing at the Denver Housing Authority.

Owens says they can provide vouchers to only 7,000 people, but the need is much greater.

Owens says the problem lies in the number of landlords turning away from Section 8 vouchers, now called Housing Choice Vouchers.

The federal housing program typically pays the balance of a rent payment that exceeds 30 percent of a renters monthly income, which on average is not keeping up with rising housing costs in Denver.

“That’s the caveat. Because a voucher, you are limited to only so much funding," said Owens. "We can’t afford to pay a high amount of rent for a unit, so we need our housing providers to be reasonable in the contractual rent so the families can utilize their vouchers in these places,”

Salazar has 60 days to find a new home before her voucher expires.

“It’s horrible, and I’m having a hard time,” said Salazar.

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