Low income families hurt by housing assistance cuts - Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-

Low income families hurt by housing assistance cuts

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Section 8 provides help for low income families to pay rent, but some people may be losing their assistance because of funding troubles.

The Decatur Housing Authority is going to be looking at cutting almost 200 vouchers. It's already put a freeze on issuing new vouchers in light of federal cuts.

For two years Stephanie Riggs has lived in a three bedroom home in Decatur. For 13 years, she's been getting help from Section 8.

"If it wasn't for Decatur Housing Authority, we would be out on the streets right now," Riggs said.

The 36-year-old mother of three lost her job just six months ago. Now she's just been living off of unemployment benefits.

"It has been really rough trying to pay the bills and everything," she said.

Section 8 covers $550 a month of Riggs' rent. She pays just $100 a month.

"It is a blessing to pay that much for rent right now," Riggs said.

Jessie Bates of JRB Enterprises is Riggs' landlord.

He said four of the 23 families living in his units rely on Section 8.

"If that is no longer there then they're really gonna suffer," he said. "My concern is the quality of life of our tenants."

Riggs isn't sure yet what her life would be like if Section 8 support suddenly vanished.

"I wouldn't know what to do," she said. "I wouldn't be able to provide for my family."

She may have just a couple of choices.

"Either cut down to a two bedroom or pretty much move back with my parents," she said.

But there is one thing she does know, "this really helped me and my family out," her life wouldn't be the same without Section 8.

Riggs said she hasn't heard yet if she's been affected by these cuts. She said she could receive notice in the mail by Monday. Bates said that he has not heard of any of his tenants who use Section 8 to be affected by these cuts.

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