Manisha Divecha is set to be evicted from her home on March 15 amid the pandemic. It comes, says Divecha, as housing officials revoked her long-awaited housing subsidy without telling her, after she was unable to use it to find a place that could meet her housing needs. accessibility.

“It’s terrifying,” Divecha said at a small rally Monday outside his apartment complex with a dozen supporters. “I’m kind of impressed and shocked right now because I think it’s finally hitting me a bit.”

The impending eviction of Divecha, 33, who uses a wheelchair and is also a disability advocate and aspiring lawyer, could mark the end of a years-long struggle to get a housing voucher from the County Housing Authority. Chester and the US Department. housing and urban development.

While her struggles to get help finding housing predated the COVID-19 pandemic, Poor People’s Army affordable housing advocates argue her case is emblematic of a looming crisis as a federal moratorium on evictions is set to expire at the end of this month without long-term help for tenants.

The Chester County Housing Authority has 1,700 vouchers to help people pay their rent. As is the case with housing authorities in cities like Philadelphiathe need for grants from the Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8) exceeds supply, and the waitlist in Chester County is currently only open for vouchers based on projects related to specific housing units.

Manisha Divecha, 33, is joined by supporters outside her apartment complex in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Divecha, who has a disability, has been ordered to vacate her apartment by March 15. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Divecha said she was approved for county Consumer Voucher Program around April 2019. The purpose of these checks is to help non-elderly people with disabilities who are at risk of becoming homeless, if they are not already; those coming out of an institutional setting, such as a retirement home; and those at risk of institutionalization.

Still, Divecha said the process of using the grant to pay part of her rent was no easier than applying for it. Divecha, who worked with a case manager through a nonprofit until early 2020, had several apartment options to choose from.

“But the units didn’t meet my accessibility needs, which we said [the housing authority] over and over,” recalls Divecha. “I asked my doctors to write letters. Nothing seemed to match.