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Digging Deeper: Low income residents face housing crisis

TUCSON – A longtime Tucson resident believes she will be the new face of homelessness, and it appears she is not alone.

Lilly Rose Krugly, 75, told News 4 Tucson the rental market in Tucson for government-assisted locations is slim to none.

Krugly has lived in her complex for 15 years, and it recently sold to an out of state investor who is raising the rent. Her lease was up and she said she cannot afford the rent hike, so she was told she had to leave by the end of August.

Krugly is a grandmother who is on oxygen and on Section 8 housing. She is also a traumatic brain injury survivor from a car crash that happened 20 years ago.

Section 8 is a federally funded program that helps low-income people. It’s a voucher system that pays two-thirds of the rent.

Krugly told the Digging Deeper team she has desperately been looking for Section 8 housing and it’s been fruitless. She now spends her days calling on apartments and at night she packs.

Pima Council on Aging told News 4 Tucson there is a housing shortage for low-income residents. W. Mark Clark Chief Executive Director for the nonprofit organization said one reason is that there’s been an influx of out of state investors snatching up rental units in Tucson and then hiking up the rents. He added, “Unfortunately we have a fairly high poverty rate in this community and so the number of people who can actually afford to pay those rents is not there.”

Clark also says PCOA has seen a huge increase in requests for assistance from renters like Lilly Rose, but there is only so much a non-profit can do. As a result, unfortunately, some people may end up on the street he said so they are working very hard to prevent that.

Also complicating the issue – many landlords are opting out of the Section 8 program because the federal government is taking up to six months to reimburse them for the rents.

News 4 Tucson also spoke to Liz Morales, Interim Housing director for the City of Tucson. She said the resources the city has for Section 8 housing is definitely not enough to be able to supply the need in order for people to have affordable housing. This despite the city’s efforts to build affordable housing, the demand still remains much higher than the supply.

We told Morales about Lilly Rose Kugly’s dilemma she assured News 4 Tucson she will do her best to help her find housing.

Krugly was pleased to hear that but hoped they would do the same for the others who are also in desperate need.

Morales wanted the public to know on Tuesday mornings from 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. people can walk into their offices and ask for assistance.

Call 791-5353 for additional information. You can also get more info here from the City of Tucson.

Paul Birmingham

Paul Birmingham

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