Many Yuba College students live in Section 8 Housing, a branch of subsidized housing offered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Section 8 program provides rental payment assistance to qualifying tenants, which are primarily low-income renters and homeowners.
Students, athletes, cadets, nursing students and those in the fire academy are among those that live in such apartments.
College View Apartments, on North Beale Road across the street from Yuba College, have been bought by Sacramento owners who have adopted new regulations, and now many students that live there are being asked to find ways to qualify for housing or seek other methods of housing.
According to Phyllis Gomez, Property Manager of College View Apartments on North Beale Road, in order for an apartment leased by students to keep their lease, at least one of the tenants in that apartment has to be at most a part-time student. These new rules apply to this complex, which offers Section 8 Housing.
“It can be anybody as long as they’re not a full time student,” Gomez said. “Apartments that have all full time students are going to be asked to leave.”
“Everybody that’s living here has to qualify to live here,” she continued. “It just so happened that full time students do not qualify.”
This has been a worrisome ordeal for some students, as many, such as athletes are required to be full time students in order to continue to participate in athletics at Yuba College. Others, such as nursing students, take heavy course loads in order to complete their program and must be enrolled full time to meet the program requirements.
According to Yuba College football coach Ted Hoal, tenants at these apartments were given verbal notification of the new regulations back in February. He made it a point to say that plenty of time has been given for the students to make plans to find other housing arrangements.
“A number of people have already moved to other complexes that are Section 8 Housing,” Hoal said. “I know because I’ve filled out referrals. Nobody anywhere has been evicted.”
Coach Ted Hoal contradicted Gomez’s statement about fulltime students, saying, “People are not evicted because they’re full time students.”
“If people are being evicted, it’s not because of that,” Hoal added, “but because they’ve done something to break the lease agreement.”
According to Gomez, however, full time students are indeed part of the rationale for eviction. The new changes, said Gomez, have come in part because of new ownership and tax-credit changes within the company.
The Low Income Housing Tax Credit that Gomez speaks of is a way for individuals and businesses to invest in affordable housing. By investing, they can accumulate large savings on income tax liabilities.
Coach Hoal said that some of the students who are tenants of these apartments have been grandfathered in by the new ownership, meaning that they can stay there under the existing program that they were involved in, but if they choose to leave the area or move on, the apartment will be offered up for the tax-credit program.
“The reality is, is that the people who bought this apartment complex have been very generous with the athletes that are here,” continued Hoal. “At least to this point anyway. They’re allowing these students to stay there until they’ve moved on.”
“Believe me, if our kids were getting screwed, we would be doing something about it,” Hoal continued. “They’re not, by any stretch of the imagination.”
Hoal made a point to say, “We’re thankful that Phyllis [Gomez] has taken care of these kids.”
However, not all the Yuba College students living in the apartments agree with Coach Hoal.
“It really sucks,” said a Yuba College athlete who was asked to move out of his apartment. This student contacted The Yuba County Housing Authority about the situation and was told that he had 30 to 60 days to move once an eviction notice had been issued, which, according to the athlete, has not happened since he was notified that he would have to move in February.
According to Hoal, if an eviction notice has not been issued to the students, it is because they are still being given time to find other housing alternatives. When and if a written notice is issued to the students, they will still have additional time to find other housing. Other Section 8 housing exists in the area.
In speaking of his living situation, the athlete said, ” We’ve been living here for more than two years and all of us are full time. In order for all of us to play football, we need to have 12 units or more.”
“Last week, it was the worst thing that happened,” continued the Yuba College athlete. “We woke up in the morning and our lights and our PG&E was off. Starting last week, everything crashed down, like our school and our practice.”
“Right now, we’re trying to work it out because we can’t do our homework and stuff,” he continued. “Once we’re served with an actual notice, we have to move out.” The athlete believes that the new regulations were adopted to get rid of college students in the apartments. However, Gomez insists this is not the case.
According to Gomez, the athletes were notified of the situation. She wants to make it clear that the new regulations have to do with a tax credit change within the new company and are not something that the apartments are doing to get rid of students.
“All of these kids are really good kids, ” said Gomez. “Everybody here takes care of them.”
Although not all the students living in the College View Apartments have faced situations similar to the one told by the unnamed athlete, one thing is evident: some Yuba College students will soon need to find other housing options, whatever the reason.