You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

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.


Welcome to

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.

SMHA considers ‘working family’ preference

Springfield housing group change would aid working poor.

The Springfield Metropolitan Housing Authority is considering adopting a local preference of “working family” to its public housing program that would make assistance more accessible to families who have working adults in their household.

A family would be considered eligible for this preference if its head, a spouse or another adult member is working at least 20 hours per week at no less than minimum wage and has been continuously employed for at least the past 60 days. The new preference would also be extended to all elderly families ages 62 or older and to all families receiving income based on inability to work.

“It’s really designed to help those families that are working, but maybe they are struggling to make ends meet,” said Par Tolliver, SMHA executive director.

“It will help lighten the load for providing for their families,” he continued. “Paying rent becomes a strong barrier to how we live weekly and monthly. If we can help assist these families in those areas, we figure this would help.”

SMHA Asset Manager Jennifer Birmele said the need among these groups has grown as the economy declined.

“It seems the people who need the most help are the ones who are struggling and do have jobs,” said Birmele. “A good portion of our waiting list are people who are working but still can’t get by. We’ll be able to assist them faster.”

After a 30-day comment period ends, the proposal could go before the board to be voted on at its March 18 meeting.

Currently established local preferences include:

  • Veterans
  • Involuntarily displaced
  • Homeless family/individual
  • Rent burdened (someone who is paying more than 40 percent of income for housing)
  • Elevated blood level (for families in older homes that are abated because of lead-based paint)

Tolliver feels the community will embrace the preference.

“I don’t look at it as a controversial one,” said Tolliver. “We’re in the business to help all those who are less fortunate. This is another way to extend our services to those who work hard to make ends meet.

“The way the economy has changed, people who thought they were pretty secure just aren’t as secure now.”

Birmele said many communities have added the “working family” preference with success, and “it helps keep us more viable and healthy, so we can help more in the community.

“It is going to be a win for the community,” she added. “The more people we can help ease the burden on their rent, the more money that is going to be spent in our community.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in News

At least 17 registered sex offenders list same Walmart as home address
At least 17 registered sex offenders list same Walmart as home address

Shoppers at a Walmart in Cocoa, Florida, expressed concern after learning that at least 17 registered sex offenders, some designated as sexual predators, listed the store as their home address. State law allows homeless sex offenders to use the address of the closest physical address for their registration. Most of the sex offenders listing the Walmart...
Georgia county says mosquito spraying is killing its bees
Georgia county says mosquito spraying is killing its bees

Douglas County, Georgia, has suspended its mosquito control program because officials say the pesticides kill too many honeybees. Beekeeper Marilyn Parker said she lost 22 hives last year and nearly that many the year before. She blames it on pesticides used to kill mosquitoes. "You would just see dead bees. Piles of dead bees. You open the hive...
Tips to keep your pet calm on the Fourth of July
Tips to keep your pet calm on the Fourth of July

Every year, dogs and cats flee with fear from the sound of fireworks. According to PetAmberAlert, a lost pet finder that uses phone and fax broadcasts to help lost pets find their way back home, animal control officials across the nation report a 30-60 percent increase in lost pets each year between those dates. July 5, according to PetAmberAlert...
Bill Cosby’s rep now says town halls won’t be about sexual assault
Bill Cosby’s rep now says town halls won’t be about sexual assault

Days after Bill Cosby’s representatives said he was planning on touring the country and appearing at town halls to speak with young people about sexual assault, one of those same representatives says that is not the case. The Huffington Post reported that on Sunday, Cosby’s representative Ebonee Benson told CNN that the town hall meetings...
Husted says he offers new vision for Ohio
Husted says he offers new vision for Ohio

The youngest contender in the Republican race for Ohio governor went straight to the age issue on Monday when asked about 70-year-old Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s decision to run in 2018. When asked about the newest addition to the race, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said, “‘New’ would not be the way to describe...
More Stories