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Palm Springs elderly woman being forced out of affordable housing

SECTION 8

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - An elderly, disabled woman in Palm Springs says she and several of her neighbors are being priced out of their apartments and replaced with people who can afford higher rents.

Rosemary South, 77, has lived at Sage Courtyard Apartments in Palm Springs since 2002. She receives Section 8 housing assistance because she's considered low income. Now, she says she's being told to leave. 

"I think they want more money for the apartment and on Section 8, they don't get their full amount because most people can't pay any more," she said. 

South depends on a breathing apparatus each day for her lung disease, and in her kitchen lies a stockpile of medications. "I don't like to complain but I have a lot of health issues," South said.

She said at her age, moving is next to impossible. 

"I can't pack, I have to have people help me pack and everything people have to do for me, and that's not fair," South said. She grew emotional at the thought of what's ahead. 

"I don't know what I'm going to do," South said. "I really don't. And I refuse to live on the street, and sometimes that's what happens to us."

South said she's looked for other apartments, making calls to more than 30 properties – but nothing's available. At each of them, there's a waiting list of a year or longer. 

She said she's the fifth person in the complex to be forced out. 

"To me, it's discrimination of older people," South said. "And we serve a purpose too. They can't just throw us away."

News Channel 3's Jake Ingrassia reached out to the company that owns the property – they said it's the Housing Authority kicking South out. We weren't able to confirm that, but the termination documents South received are signed by the Sage Courtyard Management. 

Greg Rodriguez from Supervisor Manuel Perez's Office looked into the issue and states...

"After doing some research, my office has found out that the landlord of the SAGE apartments submitted a request to the Housing Authority for a rent increase. The request was not approved because we were unable to find comparable market rate units that would justify raising the rent to the amount the landlord was requesting. The landlord then decided to proceed with issuing a 90-day notice to vacate. When Ms. South received the notice to vacate she contacted my office and my staff worked with the Housing Authority to issue her a relocation voucher. Ms. South found a place to rent in La Quinta that will be ready in September and anticipates moving in on October 1st once it passes an inspection. Also, to make it easier for voucher holders to find affordable units the Housing Authority has increased its payment standards twice in the last four months and they are currently working with our HUD field office to increase the payment standards again. I applaud the work of the Riverside County Housing Authority for the work they do every day to find people homes and keep them in those homes."

 

You can reach Jake on TwitterFacebook or email him at jake.ingrassia@kesq.com.


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