It’s called a waiting list, but the 9,000 people on the outside of SHA looking in can’t just wait.
They have to check in, by phone or online, to hold a spot on the long waiting list for public housing. That’s a monthly check-in for up to three years of waiting. Not everyone makes it.
Berenice Valle, 30, lost her spot on the waiting list. Without a phone, she couldn’t check in with SHA. She lost her place on the waiting list and, with it, her chance for subsidized housing. In the summer of 2014, Valle came to informational sessions that SHA organized for the Stepping Forward proposal, which interested her. Already, Valle is taking classes on finance and hoping to head back to school so she can study optometry.
She found the proposal that matched incrementally more expensive housing with workforce training opportunities appealing. It looked like a chance for her and her husband to save money and work toward being financially independent. Eventually, she wants to own a home.
“I thought it was a great thing,” Valle said. “Especially when I learned that they’re going to help people get more education.”
As it is, Valle’s family — with 4-year-old Jada, pictured above, and 3-year-old Joshua — are surviving in market-rate apartments in Southeast Seattle off her husband’s 62 hours of work a week.
She is taking finance classes with Goodwill and looking for every opportunity to improve her situation. The prospect of housing paired with employment and educational support in Stepping Forward was exciting, she said.
“If they ever offer me classes, I’ll take them,” she said. “The more you know, the more value you have as a person. I know other people who don’t care about growing, and I respect that, but that’s not me.”
To go to next story, click here
To go to previous story, click here
To go to main story, Stepping Inside, click here