Dear Representative Emmer,
I have written before about housing shortage, specifically for disabled and elderly poor in Saint Cloud MN, partly based on our own family's experience with a disabled adult son. Due to our extremely high immigrant population in Saint Cloud, housing shortages (and lack of increased HUD housing units based on new immigration ) has put many poor elderly and legally disabled disabled citizens in a similar shortfall for safe affordable housing in an apartment of their choice ( section 8 vs. public housing building). As you know, non-citizens with green cards may access housing supports, and there is a more than 10 year wait to even apply for section 8 housing in a safe neighborhood. Unfortunately for the high Somali population, many of their families are living in substandard housing as well, as promised housing supports (federal HUD) never happened after over 10,000 immigrants were brought to Saint Cloud by Lutheran social services.
Section 8/ vouchers are supposed to be prioritized to elderly low income and legally disabled citizens. however, when trying to get our son on a list for HUD housing based on his disabled status, a city official told me that many of the section 8 slots were held by non-citizen individuals with green cards.
Meanwhile, the previous "over 55" protective buildings for elderly have been integrated, so that I know of some elderly/disabled individuals who are having to live in public housing buildings with loud, noisy and sometimes rowdy individuals with drug or mental health problems.
In Saint Cloud MN, there is a severe problem of bedbugs throughout the public housing building, so elderly people are having to regularly replace furniture and live in unsafe buildings.
-please limit public housing (HUD section 8) priority to citizens who are disabled and elderly, before able bodied individuals
-please enact work requirements for able bodied individuals receiving cash , housing and health benefits. (Our legally disabled son with autism works part time)
-Limit HUD housing duration/ occupancy for non-disabled , able bodied individuals, so that we are helping people to move "up", not depend on entitlements
-please REINSTATE elderly only (over 55 housing buildings) based on income, so our seniors have a safe, healthy place to live out their final years.
John W. Palmer, Ph.D