CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Some renters who use Section 8 vouchers to keep a roof over their heads are struggling to find landlords in Charlotte who will accept those vouchers.
A single mother to two said the reality is frustrating and drove her to tears.
"I can't even tell you the amount of applications I've put in and been denied," Carol Williams said.
She's currently trying to find a rental property that will accept her voucher, but so far, Williams has had no luck.
"I've worked for many years, and now that I need people to help me, there's no help," Williams cried.
Williams, who is disabled, has two teenage daughters.
“I feel like I’m a failure to them because I can't take care of them right now," Williams said. We have to depend on other people to allow us to stay with them or sleep in my car, [or] try a hotel every now and then."
It's a story all too familiar for Action NC, a grassroots community organization. They work with families desperately looking for housing.
WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing email@example.com.
"There's a big need and a long waitlist for people who don't have housing that have Section 8," Jessica Moreno, a community organizer with the group, said.
Advocates like Moreno say sometimes people with government-issued vouchers can find doors slammed in their faces. There are landlords that won't accept vouchers because they come with strings attached and red tape.
"There's a stigma attached to it," she said.
And as Charlotte changes, more people struggle with housing. For Williams, the clock is ticking to find a place she can call home. Another factor to the problem is the price of living, the voucher no longer covers the rise in rent prices these days.
Williams says she's going to try and get her voucher extended, which expires in September, but she has been looking for a new place to live for quite some time.
If push comes to shove, she says she may have to move her family out of state, which is the last thing she wants to do.
WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions producing I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.