Lewisville, Texas – In a noteworthy attempt to alleviate the debilitating pressure of escalating rental prices on some of its most defenseless inhabitants, the city nestled in North Texas, Lewisville, has initiated an innovative strategy. As the burgeoning population of Denton County breaches the one million mark, the soaring cost of housing remains parallel in its trajectory.
In this regard, the Lewisville administration is earmarking over $120,000 for a pioneering Senior Rental Assistance Program. The initiative is designed to prevent elderly individuals, subsisting on a fixed income, from being inexorably pushed out of their dwellings due to unaffordable rent.
Lewisville’s Senior Rental Assistance Program to help seniors with skyrocketing rent prices
An 82-year-old local resident, Nancy Sansom, voiced her grave concerns regarding the ongoing crisis, expressing the fear and distress that accompanies the uncertainty of maintaining residence. The severe nature of the situation has compelled many senior citizens to forgo essential medications and dietary needs to meet their financial obligations.
In Sansom’s words, the escalating rent prices reflect a ‘Wild West show’ – an unregulated environment where the rental market operates with impunity, devoid of concern for the inhabitants. Compelled by these circumstances, Sansom, like many others in her age bracket, reentered the workforce at a grocery store, post her retirement, after a steep hike in the rent of her senior apartment complex.
Sansom is not alone; she knows several peers in their 80s and even 90s who have been forced to break the tranquility of their retirement to pick up different jobs.
Moreover, Sansom has taken the mantle to organize her senior counterparts and garner attention for their struggle.
“If they know about the very shameful circumstances seniors are in – if they know about it, maybe they’ll do something about it,” said Willie Peterson, an 83-year-old Lewisville resident who has been working with Sansom to contact elected officials and push for change.
Administered by the Christian Community Action and United Way of Denton, the Lewisville’s Senior Rental Assistance Program has been largely welcomed by applicants predominantly aged 80 years and above. They’ve experienced rent hikes ranging from a modest $75 to an exorbitant $500 per month.
The alarming increase in rent is a profound cause of concern for those reliant on a fixed income, as Olivia Mata-Williams from the United Way of Denton County explains.
“Having that significant jump when you’re on a fixed income really raised a lot of concerns for this population,” said Olivia Mata-Williams with the United Way of Denton County. “For every $100 rent increases, it’s a 9% likelihood increase of their chance of entering homelessness.”
This program promises to provide a much-needed respite, offering assistance equivalent to the increase in rent between lease terms for the duration of the current lease. The eligibility criteria include being aged 62 or above, renting within Lewisville city limits, and having experienced a rent hike between lease terms.
The United Way will have staff at the Lewisville Public Library, 1197 W. Main Street, on Tuesdays from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. and Wednesdays from noon-4 p.m. to help seniors complete the online application.
Despite the grim reality, Sansom finds a silver lining, declaring the program to be a ‘blessing.’ With gratitude, she harbors hopes that more cities in Denton County, and indeed nationwide, will acknowledge this pressing issue and initiate responsive action.
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— DallasMetro.news (@DallasMetroNews) June 20, 2023