Korean war vet fights to find affordable housing
CHICAGO — An 89-year-old war veteran is fighting to remain in the housing unit built to honor the military regiment he fought with in the Korean War.
The Purple Heart recipient has been living at the 65th Infantry Borinqueneers Veterans Housing building on North Sacramento Avenue since 2018.
In March, Hispanic Housing Development—which owns the building—raised the market value of the 3-bedroom Humboldt Park apartment from $1,643 to $2,426 each month.
Not long after, Lozada’s share of the rental payment was recalculated by the Chicago Housing Authority Section 8 voucher program.
His new rent reflects the 30% rule which is followed by government housing agencies nationwide. Under the rule, Lozada has to use 30% of his income for rent. That means his monthly payment increased by $180 each month.
Lozada says due to inflation and expensive medicines for him and his wife, the 30% rule is no longer affordable. He says, “food, rent and clothes and medicine. I don’t receive too much money.”
Don Washington with Chicago’s Housing Initiative has been looking at the issue and believes the Lozada’s are emblematic of every low-income housing person in Chicago right now.
Washington says, “15% is what it would need to be set at for most low income people to be able to stay in the city – there are a couple of pushes to do that.”
WGN Investigates reached out to the Chicago Housing Authority about rental costs. An agency spokesperson issued the following statement.
“Public housing residents and project-based voucher holders pay a subsidized rent that’s generally up to 30% of their income, regardless of the market rate rent for a unit. When a tenant’s income changes, the rental assistance changes. When a landlord requests a rent increase for a voucher holder, CHA verifies whether the proposed new rent matches the market value of like units in the community before approving the requested increase. CHA then covers the increased cost and is reimbursed by HUD at the higher rate.
While CHA’s housing subsidy provides households with relief from inflation as it relates to their rent costs, CHA recognizes that increased prices are especially challenging for low-income families and individuals, including those who live in subsidized housing. CHA provides financial services and counseling for households and works directly with residents to ensure that they are receiving all benefits they are entitled to.”
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