You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Heavy damage reported in Park Layne, Clark County

SMHA looking at changes to rental vouchers


Changes to the Springfield Metropolitan Housing Authority’s most-popular voucher program might provide faster access to housing opportunities.

SMHA is considering removing two local preferences from its rental assistance program, Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, to give the 605 people on its waiting list a chance to find housing quicker.

“Everybody on our waiting list is needy and the process is so long that it’s just not helping people as quickly as we want to help,” SMHA Director of Assisted Housing Sherry Fleming said.

The agency’s Housing Choice Voucher Program allows applicants to find housing in the private market. SMHA uses about $453,000 of federal funds for vouchers each month, which provides housing for 1,349 people and families.

“There’s a great need and a great want for the voucher,” Fleming said.

SMHA currently uses three local preferences that can move an applicant higher on the wait list. It’s considering removing two of those preferences for:

• Families with at least one child who is employed at least 20 hours per week and paying at least 40 percent of their income for rent and utilities, or an elderly family paying at least 40 percent of income for rent and utilities.

• Women who are recovering from drug or alcohol addictions so they may be reunited with family and given a support system.

A third preference for local veterans will remain.

“We’ll never take that one away,” Fleming said.

If changed, all non-veterans would be put on the waiting list by time and date of their application. Families must qualify under U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development standards.

SMHA began a 30-day period on Tuesday for the public to submit comments on the proposed change. The board will likely vote on the revision at its September meeting.

The Section 8 program recently surveyed 100 people with preferences from the waiting list, and only 19 qualified through the preferences. Fleming said they had people on the waiting list who hadn’t kept their contact information current, and had to be taken off the list.

“It’s become such a long, drawn out process that it’s hampering us,” Fleming said. “We’re finding all of our people on our waiting list are in need.”

Fleming, who’s worked with SMHA for more than 25 years, said HUD previously had federal preferences for the vouchers, but removed those and allowed local preferences. Fleming said removing the two preferences will allow more people to get housing sooner.

HUD recently put out a notice allowing housing authorities the opportunity to eliminate waiting list preferences if it reduces administrative burdens. The SMHA staff time used to verify preferences was also becoming too difficult and time-consuming to handle.

“We have to try it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t go back,” Fleming said. “We’ve got to try something to get people help faster.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Poor Will’s Clark County Almanack: Cottonwood cotton time
Poor Will’s Clark County Almanack: Cottonwood cotton time

Perchance the beginning of summer may be dated from the fully formed leaves, when dense shade begins. I will see. — Henry David Thoreau, Journal, May 20, 1852 The Almanack Horoscope Moon Time: The Mock Orange Moon became the new Strawberry and Raspberry Moon on May 25. On the next day, lunar perigee (when the moon is closest to Earth) occurs...
6-year-old asks people on Facebook to ‘stop killing each other’
6-year-old asks people on Facebook to ‘stop killing each other’

A Facebook video featuring kindergartner, Jeffrey Laney, urging people to end violence and violent crime has gone viral. According to KTVI, Laney’s mother, who posted the video, said she hopes that the video will affect those whose actions kill innocent children. “We need to value life more and we need to watch what we do around these...
15 people rescued after high water traps them at Sebald Park in Butler Co.
15 people rescued after high water traps them at Sebald Park in Butler Co.

Firefighters rescued 15 people, eight adults and seven children, after high water trapped them at Sebald Park in Madison Twp., Butler County Wednesday.  Crews said high water cut off access to a bridge in the park, trapping multiple people in the high water.  Madison Twp. firefighters said in a Facebook post the group went to the park earlier...
Man in vehicle, trapped in high water, is rescued in Preble County
Man in vehicle, trapped in high water, is rescued in Preble County

A man had to be rescued tonight when his vehicle became trapped in high water at state Route 122 and Jacksonburg Road.  Chief Michael Roberts, West Elkton-Gratis Twp. Fire Department, said the man told them he tried to drive through the high water Wednesday evening.  Storms in the area left behind a high volume of rain, which produced ponding...
With Confederate flags gone, Georgia Civil War museum will close
With Confederate flags gone, Georgia Civil War museum will close

A commissioner in Henry County, Georgia requested a few months ago that a local Civil War museum remove its Confederate flags. But without that symbol, the Nash Farm Battlefield and Museum announced that it can’t conduct its mission properly and will close June 1. In a Facebook post, the museum’s directors cited the request by District...
More Stories