Tough Questions Follow-Up: Section 8 Struggles 9-17-2010 - WNEM TV 5

Tough Questions Follow-Up: Section 8 Struggles 9-17-2010

A Mid-Michigan woman contacted TV5 for help after getting denied government housing aide, but now she's breathing a sigh of relief and is one step closer to getting a new place to live.
"I have a little bit of the burden taken off my shoulders," said Gratiot County's Shelley Birnbaum.
Birnbaum said she's been added to a Section 8 low-income rental housing list.
Birnbaum turned to the Alma Housing Commission for assistance and found them receptive.
The Gratiot County Salvation Army rejected her pleas for help, saying she would have to be homeless before it could offer any assistance.
"I feel like if you're in human services to help people, that's what you do," said Birnbaum.
Birnbaum's husband of 15 years, Jim, passed away last February. She's not working full-time and couldn't afford to keep making house payments on her Merrill home of 10 years.
TV5 will have a full report on this story coming up tonight beginning at 5 p.m.
So she let it go to the bank, and will have to be out by next February. Birnbaum is supporting herself and her three children on $2,000 per month in disability benefits she receives.
And while she'll have to leave the area where she's lived for the last decade and move to Alma, it's worth it to have a place to live.
The Alma Housing Commission told TV5 it's trying to help as many people as possible. "We do work off a waiting list, but it's always the best thing to do is apply," said Marcia Zimmerman, with the commission. "Sometimes people have to be on the waiting list for awhile, but with the funding that we have, we do the best that we can."
Birnbaum also thinks there's another reason why she was able to get on the list and has this advice for people in situations similar to hers. "Keep digging. Keep digging until you find something, and fight, fight for what you think is right," she said.
Birnbaum said she hopes to be in a new apartment with her three children by next February.
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