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Coastal Bend residents applying for affordable housing stuck in years long lines

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Posted at 11:38 AM, Mar 17, 2023

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The purpose of the Corpus Christi Housing Authority is to provide economical housing to low income residents.

Some applicants have concerns about the selection process because it can take several years before they can find somewhere to live.

It took Rene Vargas nearly six years to get housing from the CCHA, which is why he had to rely on family members to have a roof over his head.

Vargas even lived on the streets before being able to find affordable housing.

“I was like the third wheel, I did do the house cleaning, you know, trying to put in all I could. But me being alone all my life and now it’s hard having to adapt and being around kids or people telling me what to do,” Vargas said. “It was an experience that I will never forget, I don’t regret it because I learned."

The housing authority has the Section 8 program that provides affordable housing for people not based on the initial amount of rent, but on the amount of their income.

Meaning the resident will only pay a third of their income and the program pays the difference.

“There is always an argument about what the greatest need is, but the way the greatest need has been defined is those that are homeless or those that are elderly or those who have mental issues, ” Gary Allsup, the Corpus Christi Housing Authority Chief Executive Officer said.

Residents who are local will also have a higher chance in being selected. But it does not guarantee immediate housing.

“In theory, someone can complete an application today and be the person with the most greatest need, and be housed before the people that might have been on the list for a while,“ Allsup said.

The CCHA currently rents nearly 33,000 apartments, and Vargas is grateful to live in one of them.

“Thank God I had just barley my check so I had the money for the deposit, I had money for everything," Vargas said. "I came into housing with nothing. I was sleeping on the floor and I was able to buy one fan."

Vargas still encourages people who are in the process of finding affordable housing to keep trying.

“Don’t give up in hope, I know the world is divided, but stay strong and stay positive and things will come your way,” he said.

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