Not long ago, DDD member Cassy Garcia and her boyfriend, Shawn Ridenour, lived with Cassy’s mother, Laurie Garcia. Later, they rented an apartment, but the rent was too high for the young couple to handle. During a routine visit with Cassy’s DDD Support Coordinator, Shannon Quintana, they learned about the Housing Authority of Maricopa County (HAMC) Voucher Program. The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) is a rental assistance program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It is designed to assist low-income families to rent apartments or homes in the private market by charging 30% of the household income for rent. DDD refers qualifying DDD members to the HAMC once their application and required documents are complete. There are three main advantages of the voucher program for DDD members: first, the individual does not need to be an ALTCS member, which is a requirement of DDD’s other Affordable Housing Program options; second, DDD members can select the property where they would like to live as long as the property (a) accepts the Mainstream Voucher and (b) is an area served by the HAMC; and third, by DDD referring the member/household to the HAMC, the household immediately begins working with the Housing Authority to obtain a voucher.
In November 2020, the couple, their 16-month old son, Raiden, and their dog, Roman, moved into a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment in Peoria. “It’s a beautiful apartment, said Laurie, Cassy’s mother and legal guardian. “It’s in a nice neighborhood with a little area for the baby to play outside and the people are really nice over there!”
“It’s a nice place to live,” said Shawn. “We haven’t had any issues. The neighbors are really nice, they’ve been really friendly. There’s a cute little dog park right down the street. We’ve kind of grown into the family down there. There’s a couple of older people that love to bring their dogs around 5:00 p.m.”
“So we go there every day,” said Cassy. “If we don’t have Raiden [with us] they ask for Raiden.”
“We’re on their contact list. We’ve been inducted into their little family down there at the dog park. It’s awesome.”
One of Cassy’s favorite things to do is to take Raiden around the neighborhood. “I like to go out and take Raiden for a walk to quiet him,” said Cassy. Raiden is a music lover and during the pandemic, they have little family dance parties in their new home. “He loves music,” said Cassy.
“This place has been really nice to be able to get into. It’s been a lot of relief on us.
In observance of the holidays, the couple put up a Christmas tree and strung lights around the windows. There’s bound to be a special family dance party in their home for the holidays.
For more information on DDD’s various affordable housing options and eligibility requirements, please visit Member Housing Opportunities.