San Antonio Report: Company Offers Section 8 Renters a Chance to Live in Better Areas

Here’s why a for-profit company is buying homes to rent to Section 8 tenants

When Evon’s landlord refused to renew her lease in April 2020, she feared the worst for her family — eviction and homelessness.

That’s because Evon relies on a federal subsidy, commonly known as Section 8, to pay her rent. She knew that finding a new landlord who would accept her housing voucher, and finding a place big enough for her family of five, would be a struggle.

Of the places that do accept Housing Choice Vouchers, the official term for Section 8, many are small, one to three bedrooms. Discrimination by landlords poses an even bigger hurdle; many reject renters in the program outright, while others charge exorbitant fees.

Fighting the eviction and trying to find a landlord who would accept her voucher became practically a full-time job, even as she continued to care for her three daughters and ill mother.

“It was a mess,” she said.

It took her nine months to find a new home. But in February last year, Evon finally moved her family into a two-story, four-bedroom home with a backyard in an upper-middle-class subdivision on the city’s far West Side.

“I thought it was too good to be true,” she said.

The home represents a new kind of Section 8 housing opportunity. It is owned and managed by a for-profit company that purchases homes in “high opportunity” neighborhoods — those with good schools and low crime rates — then rents them exclusively to Section 8 voucher holders.

The Dallas-based company, High Opportunity Neighborhood (HON) Partners, believes it can both turn a profit and combat generational poverty — a lofty goal made possible thanks to a policy change at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development first proposed by former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro when he led HUD during the Obama administration.

HON has purchased 30 homes in Bexar County and plans to expand. David Williams, HON’s director of policy outreach, emphasized that the company is not a charity. “We make money. We are a business. My partners and I … believe in capitalism.”

Read the full length article as published in San Antonio Report.

Featured in San Antonio Report

“Especially for low-income kids, the difference between growing up in one neighborhood and another just a few miles away, can literally impact their average earnings in adulthood”

  • David Williams
Author: honpartners