HAC report: Voucher program isn’t working

With only 31 affordable rental units available for every 100 extremely low income households nationally, the affordable housing shortage is even greater on the Cape and Islands, according to the study just released by the Hyannis-based nonprofit.

The report also includes interviews with housing specialists and others, like Dr. Megan Sandel, who practices at Boston Medical Center and tells the story of how she tried many treatments for a young boy diagnosed with “failure to thrive,” marked by slow growth or no growth at all. Nothing was working, and then his condition suddenly improved. Sandel was baffled until she learned the boy’s mother had finally gotten an affordable apartment after staying with family and moving from place to place, “couch surfing” until she finally got off the waiting list for a housing voucher. Sandel points out that no one would tolerate waiting years for a hip replacement or other medical treatment, and yet low-income people are forced to wait years for an affordable place to live when having a home is so important to good health.

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