A San Diego County COVID hotel guest’s struggle to find permanent housing

linda mcdowell
A tearful Linda McDowell after a long day of searching for an apartment in downtown San Diego. (Zoe Meyers/newsource)

For Zoe Mayers Y cody dulaney | news feed

Linda McDowell had goosebumps after touring a downtown apartment just blocks from San Diego Bay. It was roomy enough for her 6 year old pitbull named Stella, and with a park down the street, it seemed perfect. She almost couldn’t believe that it would be the first place of her own since before the pandemic.

On the way to the bank to get money to keep the apartment, Linda sang out loud, “I’m going to buy an apartment,” incorporating her own spin on the Sam Cooke classic, “Let’s have a party. Dancing to the rhythm of the music.

For more than a year, Linda and Stella have been living in a San Diego County-run hotel in Old Town, which has been used to temporarily house people with pre-existing health conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. She is one of dozens of people still staying at the hotel, as the troubled show risks ending a month earlier than expected.

The remaining guests have only a few weeks to find a new place to live, or they will be sent to a homeless shelter. A county spokesman said officials are doing what they can to help, noting the number of housing subsidies that have been provided.

Linda is one of 30 guests who received a Section 8 voucher, a form of government assistance that helps low-income residents pay for housing, and it gave her peace of mind to know that she would have financial support to cover the monthly rent of $2,445. Still, she has come to realize how difficult it can be to find a home in San Diego.

“It’s been a long haul,” he said.

The hotel room program has been winding down since the beginning of the year, and county staff and contractors are supposed to work with guests to help them find accommodations. But over the last few weeks, Linda herself said she hasn’t gotten the help she needs, so she decided to start traveling and applying for units on her own.

So far he has not been successful and he worries that he will not be able to find a place to live before the program ends.

County officials have not yet told guests when they should check out of the hotel, but time is running out.

Read the full article at inewsource.org.

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