She is disabled and barely able to survive. When she got a Section 8 voucher to help pay for an apartment, she was thrilled but then some terrible news for her and it’s why she asked Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Jacqueline is disabled, and she will tell you, she is poor.

Jacqueline Whitehead: “I don’t got money. I get, I get my income. I get disability every month, $841 a month.”

Think about that, trying to live on $841 a month.

Jacqueline Whitehead: “It’s hard. You got to pay your bills, and then you don’t have much for yourself.”

When the landlord raised the rent to more than she gets a month, she was out on the street.

A homeless assistance center paid for a small place to stay temporarily while she dreamed of what she considered a perfect solution: a Section 8 voucher.

Jacqueline Whitehead: “Section 8 is for low income housing for people who can’t afford big rent. You pay 30%, and they pay the other 70%.”

In Dade, Broward and Monroe County, it’s estimated around 20,000 people have a Section 8 voucher funded by the federal government, but tens of thousands have applied for the voucher and are waiting.

Since Jacqueline was homeless, she got priority.

Patrick Fraser: “What did you think when you got that voucher?”

Jacqueline Whitehead: “Happy. Excited. Bless.”

With a Section 8 voucher that would pay up to $1,350 a month in rent in, Jacqueline found an apartment complex that was being remodeled. She was told it would be ready in June. It wasn’t even ready in August, and then bad news about her Section 8 voucher.

Jacqueline Whitehead: “Ahhhh…They terminated me, but it’s not my fault.”

Jacqueline was in tears after being told her Section 8 voucher was terminated. She was told she didn’t respond to the request to renew it while she waited for the apartment complex to be remodeled.

Jacqueline Whitehead: “Nobody called me. Nobody. They got my email address.”

Her time at the temporary apartment is ending in August. She went from a Section 8 voucher to help pay for an apartment to no voucher, no apartment and no idea what she is going to do.

Jacqueline Whitehead: “Hurtful, depressing.”

Well, Howard, Jacqueline had a voucher that was terminated because of a missed deadline. Is she out of luck and back in line to get Section 8 housing?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “No, she is not out of luck. If the Section 8 folks made a mistake, they need to fix it. If Jacqueline made the mistake, they do not have to return her voucher, but they can if they choose to.”

We have always believed the key to helping people is contacting the right person. In this case, it was the people who run the Miami-Dade Housing Authority. They moved quickly.

Later that day, Jacqueline’s told us she got a call, her Section 8 voucher was reinstated.

Jacqueline Whitehead: “I’m grateful.”

Patrick Fraser: “And you’re smiling and not crying.”

Jacqueline Whitehead: “Amen. Hallelujah.”

With her voucher back in her hand, Jacqueline is looking for an apartment to rent, happy about her future after her call to Help Me Howard.

Jacqueline Whitehead: “Much brighter. Because I’m talking to you. You are the best. Oh, I made you blush.”

She didn’t make me blush, the sun was really bright that day.

But seriously, on average, most people use the Section 8 voucher for about six years ’til they get on their feet financially, but there is no time limit. Since Jacqueline is disabled and can’t work, she could have Section 8 housing for the rest of her life. That’s why it was so important for her to get it back.

Housing a problem that left you behind the 8 ball? Ready to terminate it? We don’t have a waiting list and would love to vouch for you.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser 7News.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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