According to the Houston Housing Authority, there are three public housing senior communities for residents aged 62 and older. The average wait time for these communities is anywhere from 12 to 24 months, leaving few options for Houston affordable housing for senior citizens while they wait for the phone call telling them an apartment is ready.
Houston affordable housing isn’t easy to come by. Just ask new Houstonian, Terry, who moved to the area in September 2021. Terry is currently on two waitlists for senior housing in Houston. She was originally on a third, but they removed her and closed the waitlist because it was already too long.
“Without PadSplit, I would be homeless until senior housing called me. Who can be homeless for two years waiting? What are we supposed to do in the meantime? PadSplit has given me a safe place to live.”
Terry hasn’t always called Houston home. Born in Florida and raised in California, Terry called a few different cities home during her life. Before moving to Houston, a friend in Phoenix convinced her to make the move across the country for a fresh start. They planned to share a two-bedroom apartment and signed a long lease in March 2020. Then Covid-19 hit.
Her roommate was one of the millions of Americans who lost their job at the onset of the pandemic. Locked into a long-term lease, Terry found herself footing every bill so they wouldn’t be evicted. After paying rent for their 2-bedroom apartment from her monthly disability check, Terry had $200 left to cover all their necessary expenses for the month, including utilities and groceries.
“We barely ate because we couldn’t afford to eat. I remember Thanksgiving that year. We didn’t eat for the whole week because we didn’t have any money to buy food since it was the end of the month and my check had run out.”
But Terry couldn’t leave. Not only was she locked into a long-term lease and couldn’t pay the penalty to break the lease, she knew she wouldn’t have anywhere to go because she didn’t have any savings.
“When you want to move to a new place, there’s always a non-refundable application fee. Then you have to pay first and last month’s rent, and a pet fee. That doesn’t include the deposits needed to turn on utilities like water or electricity. It ends up being at least $2,000 or more just to get into a place. I don’t have a car, which means I also have to pay someone to help me move my furniture from one place to another. I was stuck.”
The stress of that year took its toll on Terry. She was already on high alert protecting herself during the pandemic due to her multiple sclerosis and chronic bronchitis, and the stress from her financial situation made it even worse. “I lost 50 pounds that year. I went from a size 14 to a size 4 because I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
When it finally came time to renew their lease, the apartment complex raised their rent by $200 a month. Terry knew it was time to leave. She left Phoenix and headed to Houston, Texas. She didn’t realize Houston affordable housing was hard to find.
“I was applying to apartments and replying to Craigslist postings during the road trip, but I kept running into problems with the monthly income requirements and Bisou.”
Bisou is Terry’s certified service dog, and Terry says he’s the only family she really has. She found most roommates and apartments wouldn’t consider renting to her even though she had all the paperwork and certification she needed.
She was sleeping on the floor of a friend’s place but was essentially homeless. Eventually, her friend kicked her out because she was worried her landlord would find out she had an unauthorized tenant. That’s when she came across an advertisement for PadSplit.
“I liked that I could afford it, but I had concerns about privacy. I wasn’t sure how I felt about sharing a bathroom, but I saw pictures of the home, and it was gorgeous. The bathrooms looked amazing. It even had granite countertops.”
Terry submitted her application and was approved almost immediately with proof of her disability income. There was an added approval process to get Bisou approved, but once she sent his service papers and vet records to the PadSplit team, she heard back within hours. She was finally approved to book.
“I was relieved I finally had a roof over my head. I moved in just a few days later.”
Now, Terry’s weekly payment automatically comes out of her bank account and it covers everything she needs: a private furnished room, all utilities, and WiFi. It makes it easy for her to know how much she’s spending, and she can actually start to save again.
“PadSplit is affordable enough that I can eat every day. After a year and half of not knowing when I’d be able to eat, I know I can afford to eat every meal.”
Terry has been pleasantly surprised by her PadMates, too. Even though she’s an extrovert, she says she didn’t have any idea what to expect, and living with strangers made her nervous at first.
“I feel supported living in my PadSplit. Everyone has helped me in one way or another with settling in and adjusting to life in a new city. It means a lot.”
Terry can’t drive because of her multiple sclerosis diagnosis, and she recently had to take Bisou to the vet. An Uber ride would have cost her $120, but Terry’s PadMate happily volunteered to drive the two of them to help her save money.
“An old roommate used to tell me, ‘No one cares about you or what you think’, but everyone in this PadSplit has proved him wrong.”
Terry tells us she’d recommend PadSplit to anyone, especially someone who was struggling to get back on their feet like she was. At only $129 a week, PadSplit is one of the best Houston affordable housing options. She’s planning on staying in her PadSplit until she gets a phone call from the Houston Housing Authority.
“If you’ve having real-life issues, this is the best thing I’ve seen out there. I just couldn’t catch a break, and I know I’m not the only person without a safety net. For me, PadSplit was a lifesaver.”
PadSplit is one of the best Houston affordable housing options. Whether you’re looking to stay at PadSplit for a month or indefinitely, we have a room for you. Become a PadSplit Member today and get access to affordable housing in Houston.