Author Topic: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor  (Read 3441 times)

bradleylsmith

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« on: December 30, 2020, 11:18:11 AM »
I recently finished listening to the 99% invisible "according to need" series. In it, they talk about what it is like to be homeless and why it is such a problem. Over the past year, my desire to help this group of people has been growing. I'd like to be wise about this. My learning has taken me to section 8 housing. It seems like this is a needed piece of the puzzle that is missing in large ways.

I'm in Denver, CO. We had 24,000 ish applicants this year for section 8 housing with less then 1,000 people getting them. (https://denverite.com/2020/09/22/whats-a-section-8-housing-subsidy-and-whats-the-need-for-them-like-in-denver)

What I'm trying to understand is do we need more landlords that are providing this type of housing? Or does the government only hand out a certain amount of money that ends up being roughly 1,000 vouchers worth of housing? How do we tackle this giant problem in a smart way?

As far as investments go, it would be great if this wasn't 100% donation but a sustainable way to invest (though not as profitable or as easy as straight up real estate). I expect problems to arise, such as communities fighting against building more of these types of houses near their own.

Do you have any insight into this field? Please share.

bacchi

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5539
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2020, 11:49:32 AM »
First, yes, there is only so much money for S8 housing vouchers. That's apparently set at <1000 families in Denver, which is absurdly low.

Second, even if a family gets a voucher, there are only so many good choices. There are a few reasons for this.

2a) S8 vouchers can't keep up. A 3 person voucher might be set in 2017 for the median 2 bedroom apartment but it doesn't keep pace with rising rents and that forces the S8 recipient to accept lower quality units in 2020.

2b) Many landlords don't accept S8 vouchers because of classism -- the poor stereotype of trash everywhere and not taking care of anything.

2c) Slumlord landlords take advantage of poor renters on government assistance because they know they can't complain. My city does yearly inspections, which somewhat alleviates this.

Finally,

Quote from: bradleylsmith
I expect problems to arise, such as communities fighting against building more of these types of houses near their own.

S8 isn't about grouping all voucher holders together in a large apartment bloc. It's about spreading the impoverished around the city in order to get them out of their crime-ridden neighborhoods and to expose them to people from another socioeconomic class.

sammybiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 436
    • Making 200k in equity in 6mo - Back down the rabbit hole, long distance RE
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2020, 12:17:56 PM »
I'm interested in reading the thoughts of others on this topic @bradleylsmith

I'd like to see more education and measured involvement in order to turn Section 8/housing from a way of life (as it is now, in many cases) vs a temporary support system while one improves their situation.

Easier said than done.  But it pains me when I drive past section 8/housing and see new 3 and 5 series BMWs or C and E class Mercedes sitting out front. 

Much like a grown kid living at home, your disposable income (however small) can be used on everything but housing, food, bettering yourself.  Except instead of that housing being funded by your folks, it's by our taxes.

I rented a couple of homes on lease options back in 2014-2015.  Of the $800 gross monthly rent, ~$100/mo would be contributed to the down payment of the property at the end of the 24-36/mo lease option.  While not a lot of money, considering these were $60-70k homes, the amount totaled would be a significant chunk of the down payment required, if not almost all of it, considering a first time home buyer FHA loan.

It would be cool if housing/section 8 could do something similar - setup a program, where if the tenant pays on-time, adheres to their lease, etc., for XX months, a portion of their monthly rent subsidy could be contributed to the purchase of a property.  You could take this one step further and establish a landlord match program for those landlords that would be interested.  Make it tax deductible, make it a further incentive for the tenant to adhere to the lease, etc.  Couple this with credit & mortgage counseling to keep them on that path to home ownership.

Administrative heavy, for sure.  Just spit-balling.  But some incentives to get people on and then off the program and into a more stabilized housing where they can actually build equity, better themselves and leave vacancy in an overburdened program for others to do the same



waltworks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4867
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2020, 12:59:48 PM »
Look, it's pretty simple.

1 People get paid like crap.

2 They're not great with money.

3 Restrictive zoning in cities where jobs are means housing is artificially expensive.

You can try to do something about any/all of those. The least-impossible is probably the zoning laws. There are people working on that in most big cities, but NIMBYs usually win because $$$.

-W

bacchi

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5539
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2020, 02:28:44 PM »
I'm interested in reading the thoughts of others on this topic @bradleylsmith

I'd like to see more education and measured involvement in order to turn Section 8/housing from a way of life (as it is now, in many cases) vs a temporary support system while one improves their situation.

Easier said than done.  But it pains me when I drive past section 8/housing and see new 3 and 5 series BMWs or C and E class Mercedes sitting out front. 

Much like a grown kid living at home, your disposable income (however small) can be used on everything but housing, food, bettering yourself.  Except instead of that housing being funded by your folks, it's by our taxes.

This is related to 2b above.

I've rented to professionals who were worse with money than some of the S8 tenants. Some of my student renters treated the properties worse.

That's not to say that financial classes aren't a good idea. They are. It's more of a societal problem, though, where society equates spending $$ with happiness and where our economy discourages saving.


Quote
I rented a couple of homes on lease options back in 2014-2015.  Of the $800 gross monthly rent, ~$100/mo would be contributed to the down payment of the property at the end of the 24-36/mo lease option.  While not a lot of money, considering these were $60-70k homes, the amount totaled would be a significant chunk of the down payment required, if not almost all of it, considering a first time home buyer FHA loan.

It would be cool if housing/section 8 could do something similar - setup a program, where if the tenant pays on-time, adheres to their lease, etc., for XX months, a portion of their monthly rent subsidy could be contributed to the purchase of a property.  You could take this one step further and establish a landlord match program for those landlords that would be interested.  Make it tax deductible, make it a further incentive for the tenant to adhere to the lease, etc.  Couple this with credit & mortgage counseling to keep them on that path to home ownership.

Administrative heavy, for sure.  Just spit-balling.  But some incentives to get people on and then off the program and into a more stabilized housing where they can actually build equity, better themselves and leave vacancy in an overburdened program for others to do the same


I asked my local housing authority about doing this. They were supportive but the legal paperwork and administration would've all been on me. It was just too much trouble. Having the S8 administrators handle it would make this a lot easier for landlords to offer though I bet it would see very little use.

sammybiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 436
    • Making 200k in equity in 6mo - Back down the rabbit hole, long distance RE
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2020, 03:09:59 PM »
Unfortunately, I 100% agree.  Who am I kidding, I can barely get my S8 tenants to pay the $100 portion of their rent 3-4x a year.

I struggle with this one topic.  I want to help and I think there are improvements that can be made.  But reality has told me 95% of those on it will suck it dry with no intent to better themselves.

though I bet it would see very little use.

srad

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 162
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2020, 05:06:41 PM »

You can try to do something about any/all of those. The least-impossible is probably the zoning laws. There are people working on that in most big cities, but NIMBYs usually win because $$$.


Ah the bay area.  Here's what I noticed on a recent visit there.

I went to visit some friends in SF, (One of them got a job at apple).  The apartment they rented was a 1920's apartment building across from golden gate park and it was a whopping 7 stories high and that was the tallest building around by far for as far as I could see.  They were on the 5th or 6th floor and had sweet views all the way to the ocean, so I could see far.  The vast majority of buildings there are only 2 stories high.  What was even more noticeable for me, was there was only 2 cranes visible, and it didn't look like either of those cranes were for building tall multi family buildings.  There is no chance the bay area gets the new housing units they need. Nimby is strong there, so very strong.

I have no idea what will fix the bay area's housing.  But this lack of affordability is growing as the tech hub spreads its wings, SF, Sacramento, San Jose, Seattle, Portland, Austin, Minneapolis etc.  I feel for those caught in a city like those listed above with very limited skill sets.  I mean do they move to somewhere where rents are 600 a month? There's Bluefield West Virginia, $553 average, that stat was a year old so it could be double by now...

https://www.businessinsider.com/us-cities-rent-under-600-dollars-a-month-2019-8



lhamo

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1105
  • Location: Seattle
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2020, 08:02:45 PM »
I mean do they move to somewhere where rents are 600 a month? There's Bluefield West Virginia, $553 average, that stat was a year old so it could be double by now...

https://www.businessinsider.com/us-cities-rent-under-600-dollars-a-month-2019-8

My dad lived in Bluefield for a few years when he was a teenager -- my grandpa worked for the YMCA and was assigned there after the war.  Dad's main memory was that he would wake up in the morning and look down to see the ring of coal dust that had settled on his pillow around his head while he slept....

bradleylsmith

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2020, 08:33:31 PM »
ah I wish there was a way to donate money into the program so that there were more section 8 vouchers.

personally I don't think trying to improve the poor is the right approach. They need to improve themselves. That said, there are obstacles we can help remove from their path to working on themselves. How do you work on a drug addiction when you don't have a home to live in? Yes, some will take advantage of any help given. I've accepted that as okay and don't want to let that stop me from helping. So far that's been true of any donation or volunteer work I've been a part of.

I'm looking for tangible, reproduce-able ways to help that are in my power to do. I can't change people's attitudes, nor do I think I can really affect zoning laws. I don't want to take away people's agency. That's incredibly important. People need to make choices for themselves.

Dislocating people to another city isn't really something I've seen a lot of demand for. I wonder if there are databases  If they wanted that, they could do it with a bit of savings and a bus ticket. Can you tell someone a house is more important than being near family? Community? The people that they are leaning on to get by? I get that a house to me may be more important than those things, but it may not be to them. What I've heard they need is food, shelter, warm clothes, palettes to prevent flooding, and houses. With that last one being the most important by far.

I think talking about theoretical wide spread solutions is beneficial and interesting. At the end of the day I'm hoping to find ways I can help in reality. I was thinking by providing section 8 homes I could help stem off people that otherwise would be dislocated or homeless. It sounds like that's not true though, because it is voucher limited not supply limited.

Perhaps building small, affordable housing that isn't section 8 is still helpful, though. Like the recent mmm article talked about. I heard that the city of Denver has an issue with this type of housing however. Because the rents are way jacked up and it's causing health issues with that many people in a small building. I like the "rent to own" idea as well. That may be the best idea I've heard yet.

bacchi

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5539
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2020, 08:47:14 PM »
Perhaps building small, affordable housing that isn't section 8 is still helpful, though. Like the recent mmm article talked about. I heard that the city of Denver has an issue with this type of housing however. Because the rents are way jacked up and it's causing health issues with that many people in a small building. I like the "rent to own" idea as well. That may be the best idea I've heard yet.

This might be of interest. In Austin, there's a community of tiny homes for the chronically homeless.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/26/us/iyw-town-for-the-homeless-trnd/index.html

There's no reason that this can't be done for the working class.

srad

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 162
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2020, 08:51:43 PM »
I like the "rent to own" idea as well. That may be the best idea I've heard yet.

Lets be honest, there are some people out there that shouldn't own a home.   If you need assistance with the basics, calling a roofing company to fix a leak on your house that you are in charge of and are now paying for may not happen.  Those situations would be best if they call a landlord. I don't think giving someone a house is the reasonable solution.  I think a voucher system is the way to go.  It would be the best way to spread out a pool of money to the greatest amount of people. Where I'm at (Portland OR) the city was building "affordable housing".  They already had the land and the units ended up at 350k each.  350k would house many more families than just the one that got the house.

Someone without a house probably isn't concerned with improving themselves, they are concerned about shelter and food.  You give em a place to stay (rent), they can then start working on themselves.

iluvzbeach

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 468
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2020, 10:29:58 PM »
I was researching this a few months back for a close family friend and found that some Section 8 programs (perhaps by another name) do offer down payment assistance toward buying a home. I donít recall the exact details but the area I was investigating was San Diego. Not sure if it was City of San Diego or San Diego County, but you might take a look at their websites and see if you can find more information.

SwordGuy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7814
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2020, 09:04:45 AM »
I'm wondering how someone "drives by and observes" section 8 housing?

How is that possible?

The section 8 housing that I'm familiar with is just rent assistance.    A section 8 house or apartment looks like any other.

We've had 2 different section 8 tenants in our properties.   They've been good tenants.   I have no complaints about them.

It takes an extra week or two in our area to get a section 8 tenant installed because the government inspects the place.  We keep our rentals in proper shape so we always pass with flying colors.



NonprofitER

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 219
  • Location: Texas
  • Reaching FIRE w/ High Purpose (Low Pay) Nonprofit
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2020, 09:34:17 AM »
Some complexes are obvious "section 8" areas - known by local nonprofits and social workers. We have several in Austin.

We love the Community First Village - as linked above.  It's a great initiative and highly successful by most accounts. The community has been  linked to the city via a specialized bus route. All community members "work" whether making handicrafts, gardening for produce that can be sold in farmer's markets, giving first-hand tours, operating some Air BnB tiny homes on-site, etc. The community has a lovely amphitheater that they show outdoor movies at all during the warm-weather months, and community members work the concession stand and sell snacks, etc. I believe they did an Xmas related drive in movie events as well. In that sense, the Village is relatively integrated into the consciousness of the larger Austin community - many young families appreciate their (mostly free or donation requested) events on-site.

Despite the enormous success of the Village, it has by no means solved the homeless crisis in Austin. There is a substantial amount of structure, rules and expectations required of residents, which not all would-be applicants are happy to follow. In the times I've been and toured the grounds with former homeless, many of them are candid about how much of an adjustment it was to go from living "free" (on the streets) to adhering to community standards (sobriety, work, a contribution towards their rent, whether in a tent, RV or tiny home). Homelessness is so complicated and its been front and center here in Austin (visually, politically, in public discourse) the last few years. As a longtime veteran of nonprofit work, its discouraging that even in our nonprofit-saturated city, we still don't know how to solve homelessness on a wide scale.

We have also toyed with different ways to "give back" as landlords. I'm following for ideas from others.

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3999
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2020, 10:11:54 AM »
I rented to a section 8 tenant.  $10,000 in damage plus a stolen washer and dryer, and more... and I will never do it again.  Maybe that's not fair; it could have happened with a non-S8 tenant, but it's not a chance I'm willing to take again. 




sammybiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 436
    • Making 200k in equity in 6mo - Back down the rabbit hole, long distance RE
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2020, 12:11:01 PM »
@SwordGuy With all due respect (I follow you, love your posts & journal) because it's either 1) property I own or 2) property that I know is section 8 because I know my market, I know the home, the landlord, the street.

Similar to you, my section 8 tenants have been relatively decent to me in terms of a market hedge (gov't checks still rolled in) but they are very hard on the properties.  CAPEX gets accelerated and monthly repairs are way up.

I'm wondering how someone "drives by and observes" section 8 housing?

How is that possible?

PMJL34

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 204
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2020, 12:39:59 PM »
I'm enjoying the discussion. Appreciate everyone for their input. I love the Austin model, looks awesome!

Perhaps every city/county is different, but I'll share what I know.

Section 8's goal is affordable housing. However, with that said, section 8's real goal is "to reduce homelessness." And according to all indications, section 8 is successful in reducing homelessness. 

For the past decade+, in HCOL areas (where section 8 is most needed) the vouchers are "won" by the chronic homeless population (aka substance abuse, mental health, cognitive/physical disabilities, victims of crime, etc.). Keep in mind, there are those (very few) with vouchers who have had it for decades and got the vouchers when they were less competitive (not as "limited" as the current client base).

It is unrealistic to expect this population to maintain housing as a "typical" tenant due to their background and financial limitations, without education and help. Please stop comparing your sec8 tenants to ordinary tenants, they are not the same. Owning a home is out of the question. In fact, in HCOL areas, just holding on to the voucher is a significant challenge. There are multiple ways to lose the voucher through no fault of their own.

The primary issue with section 8 in HCOL areas is that the voucher amount is lower than the market rent. This forces many to live in the hood. There are too many slumlords who buy in the hood and target sec8 tenants, but very few, if any, who are willing to rent in A or B neighborhoods. Therefore, my advice to those who want to contribute, is to rent to sec8 tenants in nice neighborhoods, if possible. Yes, it will be more work, but it is what it is. In nice neighborhoods in HCOL, there is no incentive to rent to sec8. For those that do not know, the inspection is a joke and you do not need to be worried about it. You will pass. My suggestion to policy makers is for sec8 to pay slightly above market rent so that at least there is a financial incentive to rent to sec 8 tenants.

How sec8 tenants manage their money is non of our business (except rent payments) and I urge everyone to stop judging. It isn't helpful. You know nothing about their background or why they make the decisions they do. If you really want to help, get to know them and help out where you can. The way sec8 is set up, it is extremely difficult to not be dependent on sec8. If their income is 0, their rent is 0. The more they make, the more they pay. I agree that this system is limited in anything other than reducing homelessness.



PMJL34

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 204
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2020, 12:53:17 PM »
Sammy,

"But it pains me when I drive past section 8/housing and see new 3 and 5 series BMWs or C and E class Mercedes sitting out front."

" I can barely get my S8 tenants to pay the $100 portion of their rent 3-4x a year."

"But reality has told me 95% of those on it will suck it dry with no intent to better themselves."

I know you come from a good place, but you decided to take the govt guaranteed rent in exchange for section 8 tenants. Please don't turn around and complain that it's higher capex.

I agree, it's hard to watch the property be neglected and it's a pain in the ass when rent payments are late, but your classism/display of privilege isn't helpful. Your understanding and empathy can go a long way. If you can't or don't want to do that, then don't rent to sec8.

   


   
« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 12:58:15 PM by PMJL34 »

sammybiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 436
    • Making 200k in equity in 6mo - Back down the rabbit hole, long distance RE
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2020, 01:02:01 PM »
@PMJL34 I respectfully disagree based on my personal experience in my markets (LCOL & MCOL, not HCOL).

- Part of my portfolio rents to section 8.  These properties are not in the hood, they are solid C+ neighborhoods that I would (and have) lived in myself.

- Section 8 vouchers come no where near fair market value for A/B neighborhoods, in my markets.  As you pointed out, maybe this a point of improvement/added incentive.

- I think everyone absolutely has the right to criticize how their tax dollars are being utilized, especially with public programs that require massive improvement and are also being taken advantage of.  And I'll continue to criticize folks holding a $1,000 housing voucher for years while also parking a $40k BMW in the lot.  Their voucher can obviously be reduced/removed and go to someone truly in need/on the verge of homelessness, which is the entire point of the Section 8 housing program.

Going back to my original post, I 100% agree that Section 8 is very needed, it's underfunded and requires massive improvement.  But the Section 8 culture also requires desperate attention via education, monitoring and a path towards improvement & betterment.



The primary issue with section 8 in HCOL areas is that the voucher amount is lower than the market rent. This forces many to live in the hood. There are too many slumlords who buy in the hood and target sec8 tenants, but very few, if any, who are willing to rent in A or B neighborhoods. Therefore, my advice to those who want to contribute, is to rent to sec8 tenants in nice neighborhoods, if possible. Yes, it will be more work, but it is what it is. In nice neighborhoods in HCOL, there is no incentive to rent to sec8. For those that do not know, the inspection is a joke and you do not need to be worried about it. You will pass. My suggestion to policy makers is for sec8 to pay slightly above market rent so that at least there is a financial incentive to rent to sec 8 tenants.

How sec8 tenants manage their money is non of our business (except rent payments) and I urge everyone to stop judging. It isn't helpful. You know nothing about their background or why they make the decisions they do. If you really want to help, get to know them and help out where you can. The way sec8 is set up, it is extremely difficult to not be dependent on sec8. If their income is 0, their rent is 0. The more they make, the more they pay. I agree that this system is limited in anything other than reducing homelessness.

sammybiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 436
    • Making 200k in equity in 6mo - Back down the rabbit hole, long distance RE
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2020, 01:05:39 PM »
@PMJL34 I'm not complaining, I'm stating facts based on my experience.  I still rent and will continue to rent section 8 rentals.  But historically, in my experience, they accelerate CAPEX and are higher on repairs.

And I earn that gov't "guaranteed" rent, ha.

How many section 8 rentals do you manage again and for how long?

I'm trying to keep this discussion open, friendly and gather diverse opinions but please be easy with personal attacks.  Again, my comments are based on my experience in my markets.

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3999
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2020, 03:13:32 PM »
I'm enjoying the discussion. Appreciate everyone for their input. I love the Austin model, looks awesome!

Perhaps every city/county is different, but I'll share what I know.

Section 8's goal is affordable housing. However, with that said, section 8's real goal is "to reduce homelessness." And according to all indications, section 8 is successful in reducing homelessness. 

For the past decade+, in HCOL areas (where section 8 is most needed) the vouchers are "won" by the chronic homeless population (aka substance abuse, mental health, cognitive/physical disabilities, victims of crime, etc.). Keep in mind, there are those (very few) with vouchers who have had it for decades and got the vouchers when they were less competitive (not as "limited" as the current client base).

It is unrealistic to expect this population to maintain housing as a "typical" tenant due to their background and financial limitations, without education and help. Please stop comparing your sec8 tenants to ordinary tenants, they are not the same. Owning a home is out of the question. In fact, in HCOL areas, just holding on to the voucher is a significant challenge. There are multiple ways to lose the voucher through no fault of their own.

The primary issue with section 8 in HCOL areas is that the voucher amount is lower than the market rent. This forces many to live in the hood. There are too many slumlords who buy in the hood and target sec8 tenants, but very few, if any, who are willing to rent in A or B neighborhoods. Therefore, my advice to those who want to contribute, is to rent to sec8 tenants in nice neighborhoods, if possible. Yes, it will be more work, but it is what it is. In nice neighborhoods in HCOL, there is no incentive to rent to sec8. For those that do not know, the inspection is a joke and you do not need to be worried about it. You will pass. My suggestion to policy makers is for sec8 to pay slightly above market rent so that at least there is a financial incentive to rent to sec 8 tenants.

How sec8 tenants manage their money is non of our business (except rent payments) and I urge everyone to stop judging. It isn't helpful. You know nothing about their background or why they make the decisions they do. If you really want to help, get to know them and help out where you can. The way sec8 is set up, it is extremely difficult to not be dependent on sec8. If their income is 0, their rent is 0. The more they make, the more they pay. I agree that this system is limited in anything other than reducing homelessness.

That's what I did.  My property is actually currently rented by 3 doctor (residents) landlords.  It has also been rented to a senior (O-5) military officer (oncologist).  It's a duplex style townhouse in an area that is almost all large, expensive SFHs.  This is also in a HCOL area (San Diego) in a neighborhood with very good schools, and not a long commute to common employment areas.  IOW, a "nice" property in a "nice" neighborhood. 

As I mentioned above, it ended badly for me. 

PMJL34

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 204
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2020, 04:10:06 PM »
Sammybiker,

Pretty much everyone shares the same sentiments you do about sec8 tenants/welfare recipients/poor/disadvantaged. The reality is, if we grew up the way they did and if we were in their shoes, we would make very similar decisions. They are no different from us. I'm sure some ultra wealthy people could look down at our lives with disgust and judge us to death on how we are doing everything wrong. Again, none of that is helpful. IMO, the better way to go about this is to try to understand instead of judge. That is all. Your comments, especially about 95% of them will suck benefits dry with no desire for self-improvement is highly offensive and flat out ignorant and wrong. 

« Last Edit: January 02, 2021, 10:29:28 AM by PMJL34 »

PMJL34

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 204
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2020, 04:14:21 PM »
Villanelle,

Many others have had similar experiences as you. Also, many others have had great experiences renting to sec8 tenants. I absolutely acknowledge that overall, sec8 tenants require higher capEX as Sammybiker stated. The trade off is guaranteed rent. I'm sorry you had a terrible experience once. I don't think renting to sec8 is for everyone. All I ask is that you don't generalize your one bad experience onto an entire group moving forward.

EDIT: For example, if you once rented your home to a lawyer and that lawyer destroyed your home. I doubt you would say, I would never rent to a lawyer again or that lawyers in general are terrible tenants.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 04:19:42 PM by PMJL34 »

sammybiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 436
    • Making 200k in equity in 6mo - Back down the rabbit hole, long distance RE
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2020, 08:04:36 PM »
@PMJL34

]The reality is, if we grew up the way they did and if we were in their shoes, we would make very similar decisions.
 

If we grew up the way they did?  I grew up in a C/D black neighborhood with gangs, drugs and crime all around me.  Parents split and I was kicked out as a young teen.

Because I’ve made certain statements, based on my section 8 experiences, you’re automatically assuming my upbringing as similar to yours?  And privileged?  How judging.  And ironic.  Ha.

]Your comments, especially about 95% of them will suck benefits dry with no desire for self-improvement is highly offensive and flat out ignorant and wrong. 
 

My comment may be offensive to you and others (reality sucks?) but it’s not ignorant and it's not wrong, in my experience.  Maybe when you have a few more years of experience and more than (1) section 8 rental, you’ll have a larger sample size in which to compare and we can chat further about it.

]IMO, the better way to go about this is to try to understand instead of judge.
   

Facts are not judging.  Yes, we need to understand and then we need to take appropriate action to improve the program.  That’s what I outlined in my first post and what I have outlined all along.

Folks taking advantage of the program is a major part of the problem – aka sitting on a voucher for years while spending all other funds without a care!  There is nothing that helps get them off the program.  This is not judging; this is factual and it’s a problem and it hurts the overall program and most importantly, hurts the people that need the program most.

I was laid off several years back and went on unemployment.  Per the program, I had six months to get back on my feet before benefits ran out.  I NEEDED the unemployment checks - this was pre-MMM Sammybiker, I had no savings and a good bit of debt.  I had to check in with the unemployment office every other week, prove that I was applying for jobs and they helped me tune up my resume.  Four months in, one of the unemployment agents called me, said they had a lead at a temp agency.  Two weeks later I was back in a job and a year after, I was offered a fulltime position.

Why not apply similar infrastructure to Section 8?  Easier said than done, I know.  But create a path to get off the treadmill.

Congrats on your single section 8 experiment in a class A neighborhood over the last (4) years – I’m very happy that it’s gone well for you and I truly think it's awesome that you've promoted bringing in a family without means into an excellent neighborhood and probably a good (or at least better) school district.  I also like your idea of ADUs and would be interested in how this could be a sustainable & scalable operation. 

That said, my experience differs immensely from yours.  And that's okay!  But I disagree that I'm being judgmental, that I lack empathy, that I'm committing classism or displaying privileges.

I'd encourage you to start a journal here when you launch the ADU projects, I'd certainly be interested in following along.

Happy NYE @PMJL34  & all. 
« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 09:01:30 PM by sammybiker »

Archipelago

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 362
  • Location: U.S.
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2020, 08:22:51 PM »
PTF. Interested in reading through this thread.

LaineyAZ

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 513
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2021, 07:34:09 AM »
Related to this, there is a non-profit in our city which has a more long-term model.  They took care of these working poor, un-housed families for a year with "wrap-around" services.  I know that's a cliched term, but I think it's also true that if you are near-homeless that you typically also have multiple other issues that need to be addressed before you can be solidly back on your feet.  I'm thinking work skills, medical needs, and transportation as the top three.  Clients have to apply and sign a year-long contract which includes mandatory requirements like the non-profit helping to allocate and manage the client's finances.

Like others here, I'm also interested in affordable housing, and I hope to be in a position myself one day to offer that to at least one family.  But I think it's unrealistic to take someone who has been sleeping in their car or couch-surfing and maybe recovering from some physical or mental ailments and expect them to be immediately on top of everything - it's a recipe for failure. 

PMJL34

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 204
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2021, 11:40:59 AM »
Happy New Year everyone!

Sammybiker,

I just wanted to say that I absolutely loved your 200k in 6 month blog and got tremendous value from it. Thank you for that and I hope that the rentals continue to thrive. I also want to start out by saying that this isn't the best place for this kind of discussion. Let's both agree that we both mean no harm and are here to grow.  Please remember that I come from a good place even if what I am about to say seems harsh.

I want to clarify that I am not making any assumptions about you. I am just stuck on the way you talk down on the disenfranchised population. You keep doubling and tripling down on your derogatory quote of "reality has told me 95% of those on it will suck it dry with no intent to better themselves." For exercise, let's say someone came on this board and said,

"95% of property owners will suck dry the renter's money and don't give a fuck about anyone else except themselves"
or
"95% of purple/green/pink colored people will suck benefits dry with no intent to better themselves."

Do you see how these comments are offensive, ignorant, and absolutely false? All academic research shows that virtually everyone will improve themselves if they are given a path they deem possible. Furthermore, that virtually everyone "wants" to improve. That's human nature.     

Sammy, with all due respect, no one gives a shit about your upbringing. Yes, we all have struggles, but your struggles as a healthy white american man is nothing like the truly disenfranchised people we are discussing here. Again, it's a huge smack in the face of those that are struggling to this day and were never given a chance. I think it's vital for you to realize that regardless of your circumstances, you are not struggling now. This in itself is a huge privilege. No one succeeds alone. This means that there were figures in your life who helped you to become who you are today. There were circumstances in your life that favored you over someone else. When I say you are privileged, I say that because you are a smart person with a high income and rentals. You can literally decide who lives in what home on what block (of the rentals you own). For the disenfranchised population, that is unfathomable control over another person's life. And when you speak about these disenfranchised as "95% of those on it will suck it dry with no intent to better themselves" it's completely classism and frowning upon those who aren't as privileged as you. Also, when you make fun of people who struggle to pay their tiny portion of rent, it's offensive. Do you think that are flush with cash and just stiffing you for the fun of it? Most likely not, they either can't manage money or are financially struggling or whatever. There's nothing funny about people who can't pay their rent.

Further, furthermore, it's very offensive when a healthy white american man says, "I struggled just like you, but I pulled myself up by the bootstraps. They didn't. They don't want to improve." I could go on and on about survivorship bias and white male privilege, but you already know this. I could go on and on and on, but I think you get the point.

I do apologize in advance as I acknowledge that this was not a pleasant read for you (and others). I do hope that at least one thing resonated with you. As mentioned, this is not the best place for conversations like this, so I will not engage any further unless you feel it is valuable.     

 
« Last Edit: January 02, 2021, 10:30:18 AM by PMJL34 »

sammybiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 436
    • Making 200k in equity in 6mo - Back down the rabbit hole, long distance RE
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2021, 02:10:10 PM »
Happy New Year everyone!

Sammybiker,

I just wanted to say that I absolutely loved your 200k in 6 month blog and got tremendous value from it. Thank you for that and I hope that the rentals continue to thrive. I also want to start out by saying that this isn't the best place for this kind of discussion. Let's both agree that we both mean no harm and are here to grow.  Please remember that I come from a good place even if what I am about to say seems harsh. Also, what part of I'm a social worker did you not understand?  I went and got a Master's degree to learn about systematic inequalities and how american policies have got us to where we are today. I work hand in hand with this population for the past 10+ years at my full time employment. I am the one who is trying to find them the resources they need, contacting home owners like you trying to find my families housing, trying to address the root problems of these families and so much more. I feel very confident in discussing these matters without an empire of sec8 rentals.

I want to clarify that I am not making any assumptions about you. I am just stuck on the way you talk down on the disenfranchised population. You keep doubling and tripling down on your derogatory quote of "reality has told me 95% of those on it will suck it dry with no intent to better themselves." For exercise, let's say someone came on this board and said,

"95% of property owners will suck dry the renter's money and don't give a fuck about anyone else except themselves"
or
"95% of purple/green/pink colored people will suck benefits dry with no intent to better themselves."

Do you see how these comments are offensive, ignorant, and absolutely false? All academic research shows that virtually everyone will improve themselves if they are given a path they deem possible. Furthermore, that virtually everyone "wants" to improve. That's human nature.     

Sammy, with all due respect, no one gives a shit about your upbringing. Yes, we all have struggles, but your struggles as a healthy white american man is nothing like the truly disenfranchised people we are discussing here. Again, it's a huge smack in the face of those that are struggling to this day and were never given a chance. I think it's vital for you to realize that regardless of your circumstances, you are not struggling now. This in itself is a huge privilege. No one succeeds alone. This means that there were figures in your life who helped you to become who you are today. There were circumstances in your life that favored you over someone else. When I say you are privileged, I say that because you are a smart person with a high income and rentals. You can literally decide who lives in what home on what block (of the rentals you own). For the disenfranchised population, that is unfathomable control over another person's life. And when you speak about these disenfranchised as "95% of those on it will suck it dry with no intent to better themselves" it's completely classism and frowning upon those who aren't as privileged as you. Also, when you make fun of people who struggle to pay their tiny portion of rent, it's offensive. Do you think that are flush with cash and just stiffing you for the fun of it? Most likely not, they either can't manage money or are financially struggling or whatever. There's nothing funny about people who can't pay their rent.

Further, furthermore, it's very offensive when a healthy white american man says, "I struggled just like you, but I pulled myself up by the bootstraps. They didn't. They don't want to improve." I could go on and on about survivorship bias and white male privilege, but you already know this. I could go on and on and on, but I think you get the point.

I do apologize in advance as I acknowledge that this was not a pleasant read for you (and others). I do hope that at least one thing resonated with you. As mentioned, this is not the best place for conversations like this, so I will not engage any further unless you feel it is valuable.     

 
@PMJL34 Its not valuable as we continue to see right past each other and you, again, continue to make assumptions.

Iím sorry you cannot get over statements based on actual numbers, even if they are not pretty, acceptable or nice. 

No need to apologize to me though.  Your statements donít sting as most are far from the truth and unfortunately seem to be tainted with your unrealistic view of the world.

Sorry to shit all over your thread @bradleylsmith but I felt it important to defend my statements and standing in a forum that Iíve contributed to greatly and truly respect and hold close.

I think there are sustainable ways to make the existing programs work as they were intended.

Carry on!
« Last Edit: January 01, 2021, 02:18:28 PM by sammybiker »

bradleylsmith

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2021, 08:11:41 PM »
Thanks Sammy. This was a helpful discussion. I've decided to take a step into volunteering whenever COVID allows for non profits to safely take on more volunteers in Denver. I need to put a face to the cause, and talk to real homeless people to learn what they need. In the more medium term I'd love to get involved in an effort to help build a similar community as the Austin one! I signed up for their event to learn how to start one where I am.

The debate between you (Sammy) and PMJL reminds me a lot of the argument between "housing ready" and "housing first". Housing first eventually won out. Data says that if you give homeless houses, they are far more likely to better their lives after the fact and keep the house then if you prove they are worthy first. It's also a lot cheaper than the housing ready program, it turns out getting homeless to worthy standards of home ownership is quite expensive. In addition, the criteria that defines who gets a house is slanted towards the very people that would be terrible at keeping them. Prioritizing those with disabilities, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, criminal offenses, etc. Yet, the data supports this idea. You can see it here: https://endhomelessness.org/resource/housing-first/ scroll to the bottom.

This doesn't take away from what you (Sammy) were saying. If I understand you correctly, you're saying they will make many mistakes along the way. Mistakes that probably look a lot like misuse or lack of appreciation of the help they are getting. If we can limit those, we should.

I'd like to see the data you mention Sammy, let us know if you can find a source claiming that benefits are abused more than they help.

I do understand there is nuance involved. Right now in Denver there is a parking lot being erected for homeless housing and NIMBYs are fighting saying it's going to end up being a wasteland for drugs and unclean streets. They are probably right, and yet homeless need houses. I need to learn more and be more willing to sift through some hard issues to get to a place where I feel like I can truly help.

anni

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 163
  • Age: 25
  • Location: Rocky Mtns
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #29 on: January 06, 2021, 02:10:13 PM »
Disclaimer: I am not a landlord and I know little about how S8 works. I was surprised and kind of offended the first time I saw "No Section 8" on a rental listing. What if landlords were legally obligated to accept S8 vouchers? It would create political interest in raising the value of those vouchers - political interest by someone other than low-income renters and nonprofits. Right? Similarly it would create external financial incentives for other poverty prevention programs.

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3999
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #30 on: January 06, 2021, 02:54:41 PM »
Disclaimer: I am not a landlord and I know little about how S8 works. I was surprised and kind of offended the first time I saw "No Section 8" on a rental listing. What if landlords were legally obligated to accept S8 vouchers? It would create political interest in raising the value of those vouchers - political interest by someone other than low-income renters and nonprofits. Right? Similarly it would create external financial incentives for other poverty prevention programs.

Or in many cases they would raise the rent enough to  disqualify Sec 8 applicants.  My understand (and I could be wrong) is that there is a cap.  So Sec 8 says that locally, the cap for a 3 bedroom is $3000.  (Of that, the person may have to pay a portion.)  If a rental is $3100, they can't just pay the additional $100.  Sec 8 can't be used on the property. 

Also, I'm not sure how it could create interest in raising the value of them. Whether I have to take vouchers or not, I don't get any more for the rent.  It anything, I'd thin that if people were forced to accept them, there might be pressure to decrease the limits, so that fewer rentals were even eligible for the program, because they would be over the cap for their property type/size.  If I have to take sec 8 but the limit for that 3 bedroom is 2800 instead of 3000, then fewer people would be required to take those tenants.

Also, forcing people to take it would mean I have to take a section 8 tenant with a criminal history, a felony record, and bad credit, but I wouldn't have to take a non-section 8 person with those same things.  Does that seem fair or reasonable to expect of a landlord?

Archipelago

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 362
  • Location: U.S.
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #31 on: January 06, 2021, 03:22:31 PM »
Disclaimer: I am not a landlord and I know little about how S8 works. I was surprised and kind of offended the first time I saw "No Section 8" on a rental listing. What if landlords were legally obligated to accept S8 vouchers? It would create political interest in raising the value of those vouchers - political interest by someone other than low-income renters and nonprofits. Right? Similarly it would create external financial incentives for other poverty prevention programs.

In my state, that advertisement would clearly be considered discriminatory. Fair housing laws in my state say one cannot discriminate based on lawful source of income. A Section 8 voucher is a lawful source of income.

I agree that that's an offensive advertisement.

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3999
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2021, 03:38:36 PM »
I'm somewhat surprised that it is legal to openly not take Sec 8 tenants.  But I suspect that's largely semantics, because if I say "minimum credit score of 700, must have income of at least 3x rent", then I'm effectively saying "no section 8 tenants".  If they make 3x the rent, they aren't going to be on section 8 in most cases, and they most likely don't have a 700 credit score.  So I don't have to say "no sec 8".  I've always assumed that when I see "no section 8", what that means is "no section 8 is accepted in lieu of the standard qualifications". 

But the end result is the same.  If a landlord says someone has to make at least $4500 per month to rent that $1500 unit, then unless it's a location where someone making $45,000 qualifies for Sec 8, they might as well say "no sec 8".

anni

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 163
  • Age: 25
  • Location: Rocky Mtns
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #33 on: January 06, 2021, 04:04:06 PM »
Disclaimer: I am not a landlord and I know little about how S8 works. I was surprised and kind of offended the first time I saw "No Section 8" on a rental listing. What if landlords were legally obligated to accept S8 vouchers? It would create political interest in raising the value of those vouchers - political interest by someone other than low-income renters and nonprofits. Right? Similarly it would create external financial incentives for other poverty prevention programs.

Or in many cases they would raise the rent enough to  disqualify Sec 8 applicants.  My understand (and I could be wrong) is that there is a cap.  So Sec 8 says that locally, the cap for a 3 bedroom is $3000.  (Of that, the person may have to pay a portion.)  If a rental is $3100, they can't just pay the additional $100.  Sec 8 can't be used on the property. 

Also, I'm not sure how it could create interest in raising the value of them. Whether I have to take vouchers or not, I don't get any more for the rent.  It anything, I'd thin that if people were forced to accept them, there might be pressure to decrease the limits, so that fewer rentals were even eligible for the program, because they would be over the cap for their property type/size.  If I have to take sec 8 but the limit for that 3 bedroom is 2800 instead of 3000, then fewer people would be required to take those tenants.

Also, forcing people to take it would mean I have to take a section 8 tenant with a criminal history, a felony record, and bad credit, but I wouldn't have to take a non-section 8 person with those same things.  Does that seem fair or reasonable to expect of a landlord?

Ah I see, I misunderstood that tenants couldn't pay even a small difference in the voucher and the rent. I was picturing a world where someone with a $2K Section 8 voucher + $200 to put toward rent could compete with applicants who could pay a full $2200 rent. It seemed like the appeal of S8 for landlords was the guaranteed income, so if they had a nicer more expensive place, they would be interested in attracting those tenants and increasing voucher values. I'm thinking more about big real estate corporations with tons of unoccupied, overpriced housing stock. Why wouldn't they pressure the govt to get them more easy paychecks? I guess I should be asking why they aren't doing that already....

It sounds like bad credit wouldn't really matter in this scenario if the government is guaranteeing payment. Like other posters here, I'd be interested to see hard data about other extraordinary expenses that are incurred from housing S8 tenants compared to anyone else.

YttriumNitrate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1174
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #34 on: January 06, 2021, 04:41:56 PM »
In my state, that advertisement would clearly be considered discriminatory. Fair housing laws in my state say one cannot discriminate based on lawful source of income. A Section 8 voucher is a lawful source of income.
I agree that that's an offensive advertisement.

There's a lot more to accepting section 8 tenants that just accepting a check from the government:
Quote
As a landlord, you will need to complete an application and provide personal information. The housing authority will also review your rental rates to ensure that they fall in line with rates for comparable dwellings in your area. One major drawback is if the housing authority feels you are overcharging for your rental, you may be required to lower your rates.

Once the housing authority approves you as a landlord, an inspector will visit your rental property (if you still need to purchase a property, look into Roofstock) to make sure it meets all local building and safety codes. The inspection process is a lengthy one. At the very least, you must have working locks on every window and door, the structure must be sound, and the wiring and plumbing must work safely. Depending on the area, you may need to install heating or cooling appliances, such as central air or radiant gas heaters. Some local codes may also require that you install handrails or safety ramps outside the property.
https://www.moneycrashers.com/become-section-8-housing-landlord-requirements/

ericrugiero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 611
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #35 on: January 15, 2021, 12:49:23 PM »
OP,

First, good on you for wanting to help others who are less fortunate.  It's a great goal and you are doing the right thing by getting some input so that you can help them while reducing the likelihood of being taken advantage of. 

One suggestion is to find people who are struggling but are motivated to better themselves.  Is there a place you can meet some of the people you want to help and get to know them a little first?  My church has a community outreach lunch once a month which is mostly attended by poor or homeless people.  We have developed relationships with some of those folks.  That's where I would start if I was able to do what you are proposing.  You could find a local church or a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, etc.  Talk  to the people who run the program and ask about the kind of people you want to help.  If someone knows you, wants to better themselves, and knows you are trying to help, they will be much less likely to destroy your house.  Many of these folks won't be approved for section 8 but maybe you can figure something out or help them apply. 

katethekitcat

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #36 on: January 15, 2021, 09:10:48 PM »

It would be cool if housing/section 8 could do something similar - setup a program, where if the tenant pays on-time, adheres to their lease, etc., for XX months, a portion of their monthly rent subsidy could be contributed to the purchase of a property.  You could take this one step further and establish a landlord match program for those landlords that would be interested.  Make it tax deductible, make it a further incentive for the tenant to adhere to the lease, etc.  Couple this with credit & mortgage counseling to keep them on that path to home ownership.

Administrative heavy, for sure.  Just spit-balling.  But some incentives to get people on and then off the program and into a more stabilized housing where they can actually build equity, better themselves and leave vacancy in an overburdened program for others to do the same

 

These programs exist. People can also save for things like education, work expenses, auto repairs, etc. States will often provide a match - e.g. you save $100 for education, they'll put in another $50 for education.

The system is unfortunately structured in a way that disincentives giving up the benefit. The waiting lists for housing assistance programs can be up to ten years, and some lists are so long that they don't even accept people on the waiting list in the first place. Thus, when you finally get assistance, it's EXTREMELY valuable. Imagine if you move into a place not rent-assisted for 6 months but then have a medical emergency and fall behind. You lose your apartment - but now it's another ten year wait to get any type of help. Housing is a core enough need that if you lose it, everything else falls apart too. The risk of losing housing assistance is too high.

Assets, including the value of cars, are taken into consideration when determining eligibility, so I suspect there's something else going on with these super expensive cars in the driveway. (In fact, you can actually get disqualified for some public assistance programs in some states for having a car - which makes it much harder to get to work!)

Most people receiving public benefits do indeed want to, ahem, "better themselves" (to be more specific - better their financial situation. Being caught in systematic cycles of poverty does not make you a bad PERSON.) Many people living in poverty are actually quite good with money - it takes a LOT of skill to manage finances and make ends meet when you have little to nothing. There are so many factors that stack the system against people improving their economic situation - one example that comes to mind (of dozens) is something as simple as not receiving notification of your next shift at work until a day or so before, making it nearly impossible to arrange child care, transportation, doctor's visits, etc.

Are you going to find people taking advantage of the system? Sure, there are lots of anecdotes about that. Are you going to find people who clawed their way up despite all obstacles? Sure, there are lots of anecdotes about that. Are you going to find super corrupt rich people who made their money off scamming everyone else? Sure, there are lots of anecdotes about that too. It's a bell curve. A few people take advantage of the system, a few people escape it, but the vast majority are stuck there because it's designed to keep people stuck there.

My experience with this comes from having worked in administration in some of these public assistance programs. There are endless other examples of how they are set up to punish the people who use them and prevent them from escaping the cycle of needing help. And most of those rules were implemented in the first place because there's a general public sentiment that people aren't "deserving" and that they're all mooching off the system. The US has a long history of punishing anyone who needs help.

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3999
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2021, 11:02:48 AM »
Villanelle,

Many others have had similar experiences as you. Also, many others have had great experiences renting to sec8 tenants. I absolutely acknowledge that overall, sec8 tenants require higher capEX as Sammybiker stated. The trade off is guaranteed rent. I'm sorry you had a terrible experience once. I don't think renting to sec8 is for everyone. All I ask is that you don't generalize your one bad experience onto an entire group moving forward.

EDIT: For example, if you once rented your home to a lawyer and that lawyer destroyed your home. I doubt you would say, I would never rent to a lawyer again or that lawyers in general are terrible tenants.

So do you think all rental qualifiers are unfair?  Like refusing to rent to a lawyer if that lawyer destroyed a home?  Do you think that saying a minimum credit score of 650 and minimum annual income of 3x rent--very standard rental criteria--are biased and unreasonable?  It it "generalizing one bad experience onto an entire group" to say that someone with a bad credit score or low income relative to the rent turned out to be a bad tenant, so I won't rent to them again? 

Because that's my criterion for renters.  It was waived for section 8.  It will not be again.  Anyone who rents my home needs to have meet a minimum credit score and income requirement.  If you think that's unfairly generalizing, then I guess we are just on such different sides of this that there's no point in discussing.  But probably 98% of landlords are on my side.  As are ~100% of loan officers, who as a group "generalize bad experiences onto an entire group" by not giving out more money to people with bad credit scores and lower income.  Come to think of it any lender uses that criteria, but you rarely hear it called "unfair".  But somehow when it comes to me lending access to my single most valuable asset, I'm small-minded or unfairly generalizing? 

Huh. 

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4177
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #38 on: January 16, 2021, 04:22:26 PM »
DH had a Section 8 tenant or two before we married. The one I remember was Mediocre at paying her part of the rent, not bad at keeping the place clean and whole. There have been a couple of Sec 8 rentals around the corner from us,  occupied by problem tenants. ďProblemĒ defined as trashy exterior, police calls for service often. After many years our neighborhood improved and priced our Sec 8. We do have public housing 2 blocks away tho, so yay.

I met a Sec 8 landlord in Kansas City who had multiple Section 8 properties. He was somewhat new in the rental biz.it was his full time job, and he was handy at fixing things. He had a great outlook about his tenant ps and was very positive about them, saying sec 8 tenants were no better or worse than others. You treat them right and they treat you right and etc.

About 8 years later I asked out mutual friend how the landlord was doing. Our friend said he gave up and sold all of his properties because he couldnít keep up with the damage caused by his Sec 8 tenants. I thought it was interesting that our mutual friend specifically said ďsec 8.Ē Tenants.

But then, tenants are tenants and who knows, maybe this KC landlord rented in a downscale market where any tenants would have been problematic.

bradleylsmith

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #39 on: January 18, 2021, 09:05:10 AM »
Can we please move on from figuring out if section 8 tenants are worthy and capable of taking care of a house? We've established that it's divisive and complicated. For me, if the house I am offering is completely destroyed that would be unfortunate but also acceptable. I'm not trying to make money off of these people, in fact it's just the opposite. What I don't want to do is provide what I "think" is help but it really is just a mess for me to clean up. Also I think it would be good for you to know that I'm thinking very long term. 5+ years from now. I'm not planning on making any moves other then positioning myself to do something in the future.

What do you think about this question: "if I give a homeless person a house, does it help them?" Or "if I give a low income person a house, does it help them?" What about giving other things to them? I'd like to hear more about what you have to say about that. Do you have any books to read or podcasts to listen to?

lhamo

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1105
  • Location: Seattle
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #40 on: January 18, 2021, 10:41:12 AM »
I think in the social service sector the "housing first" model is generally accepted (with research to back it up) as being the more successful approach -- here is one place that discusses it:

https://endhomelessness.org/resource/housing-first/

But as you have seen on this thread already, our culture is heavily influenced by messages that a person's value/worth=their willingness or ability to work.  So there is a huge level of resistance to housing first approaches, especially when the beneficiaries of such policies are in already marginalized populations, including those struggling with the effects of generational poverty (which carries with it a lot of trauma of various types), addiction and mental illness.   Often those issues are wrapped up in each other.   Most successful housing first programs thus tend to incorporate some level of wraparound services to help clients stabilize on multiple levels.

I would also really like to do something in this area but have concerns about getting in over my head.  One idea I have is to work with programs that support kids coming out of foster care who are pursuing higher education.  Providing a place for them to live affordably while they get their degrees could be a real leg up for many of them.



iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4177
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #41 on: January 18, 2021, 11:10:46 AM »
OP,

First, good on you for wanting to help others who are less fortunate.  It's a great goal and you are doing the right thing by getting some input so that you can help them while reducing the likelihood of being taken advantage of....

Iím not clear, after reading this thread carefully and the post from the OP, how he can be taken advantage of. He hasnít been clear in stating what resources he has at the ready to build any kind of housing, let alone low rent and/or housing that qualifies for sec 8.

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4177
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #42 on: January 18, 2021, 11:17:08 AM »
Can we please move on from figuring out if section 8 tenants are worthy and capable of taking care of a house? We've established that it's divisive and complicated. For me, if the house I am offering is completely destroyed that would be unfortunate but also acceptable. I'm not trying to make money off of these people, in fact it's just the opposite. What I don't want to do is provide what I "think" is help but it really is just a mess for me to clean up. Also I think it would be good for you to know that I'm thinking very long term. 5+ years from now. I'm not planning on making any moves other then positioning myself to do something in the future.

What do you think about this question: "if I give a homeless person a house, does it help them?" Or "if I give a low income person a house, does it help them?" What about giving other things to them? I'd like to hear more about what you have to say about that. Do you have any books to read or podcasts to listen to?

So your significant financial contributions are theoretical at this point? To have real estate completely destroyed and you be cavalier about itóEither your plan is only theoretical, or you have shit tons of money. Which one is it?

Iíve always thought that in the situation described, working with established churches that have home placement programs would be a good way to go. It all depends on how many housing units you ( the general you) are going to fund. One, two, or threeóa church would be good to hook up with to identify needy and responsible families.twenty, thirty, fortyóthat is territory where working with a government entity, not necessarily a federal program, would be useful.

« Last Edit: January 18, 2021, 11:43:09 AM by iris lily »

Shane

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1369
  • Location: PA
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #43 on: January 18, 2021, 12:06:08 PM »
The PBS Frontline documentary, Poverty, Politics and Profit was pretty good, and is on topic for this discussion. The film follows several S8 families, so you can see what their lives are like. It's pretty sad. One point made in the film that I thought was good was that, while there is a strict limit on the number of S8 vouchers given out in each real estate market, there are no limits on the huge mortgage tax exemption given to property owners. The government says they can only afford to give like 10% of the families who need rental assistance any help, but they place no limits on how much money they'll dole out to homeowners and banks. When you think about it, that doesn't make very much sense. The mortgage interest tax exemption basically just pushes up the costs of real estate, and is a big hand out to banks and mortgage loan companies.

Also, just recently finished reading a really good book, by Richard Rothstein, that explains in great detail the background about how we got to where we are now in the US: The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.

Cranky

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2922
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #44 on: January 18, 2021, 01:45:32 PM »
Can we please move on from figuring out if section 8 tenants are worthy and capable of taking care of a house? We've established that it's divisive and complicated. For me, if the house I am offering is completely destroyed that would be unfortunate but also acceptable. I'm not trying to make money off of these people, in fact it's just the opposite. What I don't want to do is provide what I "think" is help but it really is just a mess for me to clean up. Also I think it would be good for you to know that I'm thinking very long term. 5+ years from now. I'm not planning on making any moves other then positioning myself to do something in the future.

What do you think about this question: "if I give a homeless person a house, does it help them?" Or "if I give a low income person a house, does it help them?" What about giving other things to them? I'd like to hear more about what you have to say about that. Do you have any books to read or podcasts to listen to?

Perhaps you would be interested in working with Habitat? Their goal is getting low income families into decent housing, and the program offers a lot of support to help those families be successful home owners.

I live in an area with low housing costs - my dd rents a pleasant apartment for $510 and that itís includes utilities and itís in a pleasant neighborhood. And there is *still* a demand for section 8 housing.

franklin4

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Location: Seattle
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #45 on: January 18, 2021, 05:25:37 PM »
The PBS Frontline documentary, Poverty, Politics and Profit was pretty good, and is on topic for this discussion. The film follows several S8 families, so you can see what their lives are like. It's pretty sad. One point made in the film that I thought was good was that, while there is a strict limit on the number of S8 vouchers given out in each real estate market, there are no limits on the huge mortgage tax exemption given to property owners. The government says they can only afford to give like 10% of the families who need rental assistance any help, but they place no limits on how much money they'll dole out to homeowners and banks. When you think about it, that doesn't make very much sense. The mortgage interest tax exemption basically just pushes up the costs of real estate, and is a big hand out to banks and mortgage loan companies.
Until a couple years ago there was no limit on the mortgage interest deduction for primary residences. But currently interest on mortgage amounts greater than 750k is not deductible.
https://www.irs.gov/publications/p936

BicycleB

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3032
  • Location: Live Music Capital of the World
  • Older than the internet, but not wiser... yet
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #46 on: January 18, 2021, 06:32:51 PM »
Can we please move on from figuring out if section 8 tenants are worthy and capable of taking care of a house? We've established that it's divisive and complicated. For me, if the house I am offering is completely destroyed that would be unfortunate but also acceptable. I'm not trying to make money off of these people, in fact it's just the opposite. What I don't want to do is provide what I "think" is help but it really is just a mess for me to clean up. Also I think it would be good for you to know that I'm thinking very long term. 5+ years from now. I'm not planning on making any moves other then positioning myself to do something in the future.

What do you think about this question: "if I give a homeless person a house, does it help them?" Or "if I give a low income person a house, does it help them?" What about giving other things to them? I'd like to hear more about what you have to say about that. Do you have any books to read or podcasts to listen to?

@bradleylsmith, I think you can work your way up to knowing more by mixing some experience in with your reading. And you don't have to wait five years, you can start this year.

I volunteered at a church project that gave homeless youth a place to visit safely once a week, plus overnight shelter on nights below freezing. Also at a weekly free supper for the homeless. Talked heart to heart repeatedly with a longtime advocate for the homeless. You can do things like that to start learning where your money can help.

You might be able to help people with a much smaller investment than a house. For example, maybe paying for a gym membership would let someone clean up enough to get a job, or paying deposit would enable someone to rent an apartment. You could change a life with the money you might normally use to buy a phone.

Sometimes people just lack knowledge. At the homeless drop-in, I talked to a young lady about 19 who asked how to buy an apartment. I answered - wrongly at first. Because what she meant was how do RENT an apartment, she just didn't know the right word. And I was too dumb/inexperienced to realize what she meant before 15 minutes of mutual confusion.

Often the places that already help people have volunteers or staffers who can help you sort out situations. Learn by doing as well as reading, and you'll learn more than either one alone. Start now so that five years from now when you have bigger bucks to spend, you'll be ready.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2021, 06:37:58 PM by BicycleB »

Archipelago

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 362
  • Location: U.S.
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #47 on: January 19, 2021, 08:12:54 AM »
To add to the topic, there's a podcast episode on Bigger Pockets where they interview a guy doing Section 8 SFR rentals in the D.C. area (HCOL). He discusses his processes for Section 8 tenants which include showing up to prospective tenants current residences, financially rewarding tenant's children for good grades, and sending tenants on vacations each year. He's had some tenants for over 20 years.

I'm generally not a fan of Bigger Pockets for several reasons, but that episode in particular could be worth a listen. Episode 356 with Joe Asamoah.

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4177
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #48 on: January 19, 2021, 08:22:47 AM »
Can we please move on from figuring out if section 8 tenants are worthy and capable of taking care of a house? We've established that it's divisive and complicated. For me, if the house I am offering is completely destroyed that would be unfortunate but also acceptable. I'm not trying to make money off of these people, in fact it's just the opposite. What I don't want to do is provide what I "think" is help but it really is just a mess for me to clean up. Also I think it would be good for you to know that I'm thinking very long term. 5+ years from now. I'm not planning on making any moves other then positioning myself to do something in the future.

What do you think about this question: "if I give a homeless person a house, does it help them?" Or "if I give a low income person a house, does it help them?" What about giving other things to them? I'd like to hear more about what you have to say about that. Do you have any books to read or podcasts to listen to?

@bradleylsmith, I think you can work your way up to knowing more by mixing some experience in with your reading. And you don't have to wait five years, you can start this year.

I volunteered at a church project that gave homeless youth a place to visit safely once a week, plus overnight shelter on nights below freezing. Also at a weekly free supper for the homeless. Talked heart to heart repeatedly with a longtime advocate for the homeless. You can do things like that to start learning where your money can help.

You might be able to help people with a much smaller investment than a house. For example, maybe paying for a gym membership would let someone clean up enough to get a job, or paying deposit would enable someone to rent an apartment. You could change a life with the money you might normally use to buy a phone.

Sometimes people just lack knowledge. At the homeless drop-in, I talked to a young lady about 19 who asked how to buy an apartment. I answered - wrongly at first. Because what she meant was how do RENT an apartment, she just didn't know the right word. And I was too dumb/inexperienced to realize what she meant before 15 minutes of mutual confusion.

Often the places that already help people have volunteers or staffers who can help you sort out situations. Learn by doing as well as reading, and you'll learn more than either one alone. Start now so that five years from now when you have bigger bucks to spend, you'll be ready.

These are great suggestions. The idea of offering a rental deposit is brilliant because that is a huge impediment for many people.

Edited to add:

I just learned about a targeted program for the homeless in my area because I live in an urban core and there are many many homeless people, many programs for them, and lots of forum noise about helping the homeless.

This program seems very practical to me: once a week, owners of a laundromat set out for three hours free washers and dryers for homeless people. They give them laundry soap. They accept donations to subsidize this.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 09:57:38 AM by iris lily »

ChpBstrd

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2886
Re: section 8 landlording as a way to help our poor
« Reply #49 on: January 19, 2021, 02:09:40 PM »
Housing and housing prices are what they are because of government policy. No small-scale project is going to change that.

1) Abolish government mortgage guarantees. Mortgage subsidies mean interest rates are 3-5% lower than they would be if we had to borrow in a market without taxpayer funded loan guarantees. Artificially low rates prop up housing costs 30-50%. However, there would be massive opposition from existing homeowners who would lose tons of value if this subsidy was removed.

2) Abolish suburban building codes such as minimum lot sizes, minimum square footage, maximum stories, minimum setback, or bans on multi-family housing. This would allow supply to increase and meet demand. Expect massive opposition from suburban homeowners again, because they are invested in scarcity.

3) Increase government spending on recovery services for addiction and mental health issues. This could eliminate most homelessness, in addition to lots of crime and child/domestic abuse. These are leading causes of poverty, they are treatable, and we don't even try. The taxes paid by recovered people could probably cover the cost of their treatment within 5 years, not to mention avoiding externalities like incarceration, ER visits, crime, social work, etc.

4) Fund education at the statewide or nationwide level on a per-student basis, rather than having well-funded schools in rich districts and poorly-funded schools in poor districts. This would smooth out real estate prices while increasing the nation's economic potential in future years, because more kids who grew up poor could have access to a quality education.

All these suggestions would be opposed by politically powerful suburbanites in relatively wealthy school zones. Recall the revolt against desegregation bussing in the 70's and 80's. Their property would lose value, their schools would get less funding, and their taxes might go up. Many (most?) Americans financially benefit from the status quo which has economic despair as a side effect.

The uncontroversial thing you can do is persuade more high-paying big city employers to allow remote work, so that housing demand could shift away from scarce locations and toward places like small towns and cities where affordable housing is plentiful (e.g. millions of units <$100k, building lots with utilities for <$5k, etc.). Even if the people who move to the cheap locations are high-earning professionals, this would still ease some of the pressure on HCOL areas.