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Blocked Out

Section 8 vouchers are supposed to help the poor reach better neighborhoods. Texas law gets in the way.

Under Texas law, landlords cannot be punished for discriminating against families with federal housing vouchers. The impact is clear in Houston, where one in four families who receive housing assistance never gets to use it.

Denise Taylor-McCullough, right, who has a Section 8 housing voucher but has been unsuccessful finding a place to live, continues to search at her realtor Pamela Bank's (left) office in Houston on April 19, 2018.

Blocked Out

Texas is booming, but can you still afford to live here? For a growing number of Texans, finding a home they can afford in a neighborhood they like has become increasingly difficult. This series explores the reasons why.

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A pair of hurdles: Harvey and state policy

Realtor Pamela Bank makes a call in her office in Houston on April 19, 2018. Her client, Denise Taylor-McCullough, right, has a section 8 housing voucher but has been unsuccessful finding a place to live, is seated behind her.
Denise Taylor-McCullough, who has a section 8 housing voucher but has been unsuccessful finding a place to live, continues to search at her realtor's office in Houston on April 19, 2018.

“I know the struggle”

Realtor Pamela Banks at her office in Houston on April 19, 2018.

An uphill battle

Debris from Hurricane Harvey outside an apartment complex in Houston on Sept. 14, 2017.

Austin becomes a battlefield over Section 8

A ban on bans

Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, chats with Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, during presentation of a substitute floor amendment to SB 3 the school choice bill up on March 30, 2017.  Debate on the measure, one of Gov. Greg Abbott's emergency items, continued into the late afternoon. 

Steered into the poorest, most racially segregated neighborhoods

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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in his office in City Hall on Sept. 25, 2017.

“They want Section 8 people out of the community”

Denise McCullough at her new apartment in Houston on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018.

The move

Denise McCullough with her daughter Kristina McCullough, 14, in their new apartment in Houston on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018.

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