Families anxiously waiting for Section 8 housing

Posted at 6:17 PM, Apr 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-05 00:29:21-04
A Tampa Bay area mother says she is forced to live in fear, unable to find a safe place to live after she was unable to find new Section 8 housing.
The Tampa Housing Authority said there are 8,100 people on the waiting list for Section 8 housing. Right now, there aren't many options.
Tonya Wilson said she spends her nights hearing the cries of her kids.
"They ask me, 'Why, why mom, why, do we have to go through this?'" she said.
She's scared to take them outside of the weekly motel they're living in.
"It's not safe," Wilson said. "I don't feel safe there."
Wilson and her two kids say they have no option but to live there after someone purchased their Section 8 property and kicked them out.
"We moved from a townhouse that was safe to a place that's like drug infested, and drunk and people pounding on our walls, all hours of the night," Wilson said.
The wait list to get into new Section 8 housing is so long she has run out of options.
The Tampa Housing Authority readily admits there's a problem. Spokesperson Lillian Stringer told ABC Action News that currently there is a shortage of properties.
Plus, THA is tearing down places like the the North Boulevard Homes, which are all Section 8, to make way for development projects.
On top of that, by law, everyone at North Boulevard must be re-located, but even after three years of work, there's no real solution in the works.
The housing authority says for people like Wilson, who have a voucher, should talk to their counselor to try and find available housing, even saying she could look out of state. But Wilson's kids are deeply attached to this community and don't want to leave.
"I haven't given up," she said. "I look every day."
She's just two months away from getting her nursing degree and, hopefully, a job that pays enough.
"Everything will pass, everything will come to us whenever it was planned to," she said.
But she's worried for others who are still struggling, waiting for affordable housing.