Affordable housing shortage impacting domestic violence survivor

SAN ANTONIO – Leaving an abusive situation is never easy, especially when you don’t have somewhere safe to go. A San Antonio woman is finding herself in that position due to an affordable housing shortage in the city.

“We’ve been married almost 13 years, a little over 13 years. It started when my son was born, which was two years into our relationship,” the woman said.

KSAT 12 News is hiding the woman’s identity to protect her from her abuser.

After more than a decade of living in fear, she’s saying no more.

“You go from being a strong woman, which I was, and it takes everything that you have — all your strength,” the woman said.

Four years ago, she got on the Opportunity Home waitlist to receive a housing voucher to leave and find a safe place for herself and her son.

Last month, she finally got that voucher.

“I’ve been looking for a month. I’ve been calling and calling and calling. But there’s a waiting list right now,” the woman said, referring to places she’s looking to rent.

Valerie Ochoa works with Opportunity Home. She said the waitlist is happening because they don’t have enough landlords willing to accept the affordable housing vouchers.

“It has a huge impact to the community. There’s thousands of people on the waiting list that can’t find affordable living right now,” said Ochoa, assistant director of the Assisted Housing Program.

Opportunity Home recently held a landlord summit to educate and attract landlords to its voucher program. It says 119 landlords attended.

“I do feel like that education only helps put the word out and helps landlords to understand the benefit of putting their unit on the program,” Ochoa said.

For now, the domestic violence survivor is living back with her abuser after he tracked her down when she was staying with friends and family. She says she got an extension on her voucher and hopes space will open soon.

“I don’t want to wait any longer. We need peace. I need peace,” she said.

Opportunity Home’s effort to streamline its voucher program will continue into the new year. Its staff plans to create a list of current participating landlords to make the process more efficient.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, there are resources available here.

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