As rents rise, landlords needed for housing assistance voucher program

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

Anyone in the market to rent knows how hard it’s getting to afford a place to live. A map from the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows that in Arizona you’d have to make almost $18.50 an hour or else you’d be paying more than the recommended 30 percent of your income on housing.

Another study listed Mesa, Glendale, and Phoenix in the top 10 cities nationwide for buying investment properties.

"Overall, Arizona’s investment market is very, very hot," Valley realtor Asher Cohen said.

People are flooding into the state for new jobs or for the nice cost of living. But that same rush is making the cost of living not-so-nice for people who aren’t looking to buy.

"We’re seeing prices rising, landlords are looking to get more money for their properties," said Michelle Albanese, who oversees the Housing Choice Voucher Program in Scottsdale. It uses federal funds to help low-wage earners pay rent based on their income and there are 6,500 people on the waiting list for that program in Scottsdale alone.

Albanese says it’s critical to find landlords who are willing to accept dual payments each month from the vouchers and from the tenants. Otherwise, there wouldn't be any housing options to offer within the program.

With a flood of new landlords moving in, perhaps their willingness to be a part of the voucher program could make things work for everyone.

"Tenants out there looking for properties are looking to more of these local, more independent owners," Cohen said. Often they’re the ones who are more willing to give you a good deal on rent rather than big management companies.

"Be persistent and continue to look and you will find that landlord that wants to work with you," Albanese said.

If you are looking to rent, remember, you can still get help from a realtor -- you don't have to be a buyer.

Landlords who choose to make their properties part of the voucher program not only help families in need, but they also have a guaranteed rent payment coming to them from the federal government each month.

If you're interested in offering your property for the voucher program, contact your nearest Office of Public Housing.

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