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The Miami Herald
March 28, 2004 Sunday BROWARD EDITION

LAUDERHILL WANTS FEWER SECTION 8
CONDO RENTERS

BYLINE: NATALIE P. McNEAL

For Joyce Blackmur, moving to Lauderhill was an easy choice.

The single mother, who receives a government housing subsidy that helps pay her rent, picked Lauderhill because it was close to her family in Margate and Deerfield Beach.

Her landlord even let her use her federal housing assistance voucher, which is designated for a one-bedroom apartment, to move into a two-bedroom.

"This is the first time I've had a condo, and I like it," said Blackmur, 46, who pays $160 a month toward her $738 rent. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, through its Section 8 program, picks up the rest.

"It's nice, big and has air," she said.

Since the 1970s, the Section 8 program has helped low-income families move out of struggling neighborhoods and into more affluent communities.

But Lauderhill leaders say they are getting more than their fair share of the Section 8 renters, and it is not helping the city.

In many cases, absentee landlords are failing to keep up their properties, forcing code enforcement officers to repeatedly cite them for violations. City leaders want more people who have a long-term investment in the community, rather than contributing to an already transient area.

"I am all in favor of decent housing for the poor," said Lauderhill Vice Mayor M. Margaret Bates. "But I don't want them all in my city."

Of the roughly 9,600 Section 8 voucher users in Broward County, Lauderhill - a city of only seven square miles and 57,839 people - has 1,361 voucher users.

By contrast, Hollywood has a population of about 145,000 people but only 615 voucher recipients.

Pembroke Pines, which is even more populous than Hollywood, has only 150 voucher users.

Lauderhill has more Section 8 voucher users than any other Broward city except Fort Lauderdale, which has almost three times Lauderhill's population but only 471 more voucher recipients, or 1,832.

 

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