San Jose Veteran Can't Find Landlord Who Will Accept Housing Vouchers - NBC Bay Area
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San Jose Veteran Can't Find Landlord Who Will Accept Housing Vouchers

Army veteran Ricky Rivera says he and his family were already homeless when they finally found a San Jose landlord who would take his veterans housing voucher. But an improving economy has the landlord raising the rent and pricing Rivera’s family out.

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    The Veterans Supportive Services Agency helps veterans receive the benefits they've earned, but when it comes to housing, veterans' advocates in the Bay Area say they're having a hard time finding landlords willing to help. Damian Trujillo reports. (Published Friday, Feb. 12, 2016)

    The Veterans Supportive Services Agency helps veterans receive the benefits they've earned, but when it comes to housing, veterans' advocates in the Bay Area say they're having a hard time finding landlords willing to help.

    Ricky Rivera, a veteran from San Jose, served his country. Now he's one of those who needs help from those he served or he and his entire family might end up living on the streets.

    Rivera has a government voucher to help him pay for rent at his apartment near the Rose Garden community, but it appears, as rents go up, landlords have no interest in the vouchers. His landlord recently gave the Army vet a letter just before the holidays saying he has to be out by March 1.

    "It's hard to deal with," Rivera said.

    Rivera says he and his family were already homeless when they finally found a landlord last year who would accept his veterans housing voucher. That voucher pays for about 70 percent of his rent.

    But an improving economy has the landlord raising the rent and pricing Rivera's family out.

    And the vet is finding out most landlords won't work with his housing voucher.

    "It's hard to survive," Rivera said. "I get doors slammed on me. 'Oh, I can't rent to you because you're Section 8, and you guys are no good.' I can't deal with that."

    Maya Esparza heads the All the Way Home campaign, a new effort to house every homeless veteran in the South Bay.

    "There are people who served us, and now we have to serve them," Esparza said.

    The campaign is a joint effort by Santa Clara County and the city of San Jose.

    "We're in one of the most expensive places in the country to live," Esparza said. "There are 260 veterans today in San Jose holding a veterans housing voucher and can't find someone to rent to them."

    Rivera has 16 days to find a new home he can afford for his wife, daughter and two grandchildren. Otherwise, Rivera says, his family will wind up homeless again.

    "Nothing out there," Rivera said. "I've had rejections like there's no tomorrow...like there's no tomorrow."

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