Gateway Village Apartments is one of 12 apartment complexes in Orange County that accepts Section 8 vouchers, a federal program that provides subsidies to low-income families so they can afford private housing.
In the fall, county officials called for more apartment complexes to accept the vouchers after many complexes in the area stopped, putting nearly 90 Orange County families at risk for losing their homes.
Devin Ross, an organizer for Justice United, said about 40 tenants at Gateway Village receive the subsidies.
Justice United is a community power organization that has partnered with residents in the apartment complex since August.
Tenants were supposed to receive their subsidy checks though the Housing Choice Voucher Program by March 10.
Matesha McLeod, a Gateway Village tenant, said she did not receive her utility subsidy until Saturday, which was after her electricity and power bills were due.
“It has happened a lot, more than I can count on my fingers,” McLeod said of the late checks.
McLeod said when the subsidy check is late the power is cut off, or if they push back the payment there is a fee.
She said that tenants are also able to go to social services to get the utility bills paid.
Residents are calling for an explanation for the delays and a better system to ensure that these delays stop happening, according to a press release.
McLeod said there has been no explanation for the late checks.
“You get a run-around answer or no one gets back to you about your question,” she said.
Ross said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is supposed to issue the checks by the third of the month.
Then the checks are sent to N.C. Quadel, a contract administrator that takes one day to process the vouchers.
The checks then go to Preservation Management, Inc., the managing company for Gateway Village Apartments, which is supposed to have the checks to tenants between the seventh and the tenth of each month.
Gateway Village Apartments and Preservation Management, Inc. could not be reached for comment.
More than 5 million people from 2.1 million low-income families nationwide currently use the Section 8 vouchers.
Ross said through Justice United’s role in connecting residents with community institutions, they have been able to build a relationship with the housing department.
He said they are working with the department to directly address this issue.