Comedian and political commentator John Oliver spotlights Frisco in recent homelessness episode
Comedian and political commentator John Oliver put Frisco in the spotlight in his most recent episode on homelessness last week tonight with John Oliver.
In the episode, which aired on HBO on October 31, and is available on YouTube, Oliver discusses public policy and solutions to homelessness.
“In North Texas, local residents were mobilizing against a proposed affordable housing project that reserved units for residents using Apartment Choice or Section 8 vouchers. Basically, they’re rent subsidies for low-income or homeless people, “Oliver said when a map of Texas appeared with a large dot and the word” Frisco “marking the location of the city. “And this is how an opponent of the project declared herself.”
The video continues with an embedded clip from the NPR and PBS show Frontline (season 35, episode 14).
The 2017 clip shows a Frisco resident discussing her opposition to bringing in residents with Section 8 vouchers. She had told presenter Laura Sullivan throughout the episode that she was concerned about traffic and crowded schools, but also the possibility that those with coupons might not fit in.
“In this neighborhood, I think most of us are mothers with young children who stay at home,” says the resident in the embedded clip. “The lifestyle that I think goes with Section 8 is usually working single mothers or people who have difficulty staying afloat. And they are not – I feel so bad when I say that – they are just not people who belong to the same class as us. “
The Dallas Morning News reported in 2017 that approximately 17,000 families were actively using coupons for Section 8 of the Dallas Housing Authority and 11,500 were on the waiting list.
The program uses US dollars to help low-income families rent apartments or houses from private landlords. Those who use them pay 30% of their income for rent and utilities, while the federal government pays the rest, The News reported.
The Frisco Housing Authority does not offer Section 8 coupons. But in 2008, the city guides made an agreement with the Dallas nonprofit Inclusive Communities Project Inc. to provide affordable housing. As part of the agreement, the nonprofit required certain Dallas Housing Authority customers to use Section 8 coupons to receive some of the low-income housing.
Many residents turned down the city’s low-income housing project because they had concerns about the type of people it could bring to the population of Frisco, The News reported.
Other cities in North Texas, including Dallas, have faced similar problems in recent years. Some communities are completely closed to families with Section 8 coupons as they will only work if landlords accept them. They are not accepted in many affluent suburbs, according to an earlier report in The News.
At the time of the Frontline episode aired, Sullivan said the US Housing and Urban Development Agency was investigating whether Frisco and the neighboring town of McKinney had violated the Federal Fair Housing Law. She admitted that “Frisco City officials say they support affordable housing.”
Oliver pointed out that while Frisco is in a “conservative area of Texas”, residents of “deeply liberal blue cities” across the country are also against similar housing programs.