More Affordable Housing Needed in Columbia

3 years 11 months 3 weeks ago Thursday, August 22 2013 Aug 22, 2013 Thursday, August 22, 2013 7:31:00 PM CDT August 22, 2013 in News
By: Emily Spain, KOMU 8 Anchor
loading

COLUMBIA - Public housing keeps a roof over the heads of many Columbia families in poverty, but there's not enough available for all of those in need. The Columbia Housing Authority or CHA currently serves approximately 1,950 families, but there's more than 1,000 other families waiting for help.

Right now, the CHA has reached its limit. The current occupancy numbers show all complexes are at 97 percent capacity or more. Providence Townhomes' 294 units are 97.5 percent full. Bear Creek Townhomes has 78 units and 98.6 percent of those are occupied. Oak Towers has 147 units and services the elderly. Its units are 100 percent full. Paquin Tower serves the disable and elderly with 200 units, which are at 98.9 percent capacity.

The CHA also provides Section 8 Housing Vouchers to those in need. People with vouchers can live at private apartments that accept the vouchers. Those using the vouchers still pay for their utilities and a portion of their rent, like those living in public housing, but the vouchers go to the landlords to cover the rest of the rent payment.

The CHA has 1,141 vouchers in use, with 1,100 applicants on a waiting list. The organization last opened the waiting list for applicants in September 2012. It could be another two years before the CHA reopens the list.

Jacqueline Harris is one recipient of the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program. She's a single mom who lived in public housing for the first couple of years she was in Columbia. She moved to town from Chicago.

"(Columbia's) quiet. It's quieter than where I come from I can tell you that," Harris said.

She moved out of public housing and received her voucher when she got a job working at the Moving Ahead after school program for kids at the Blind Boone Center. She got the job through a program at the CHA. She said the vouchers lift a financial burden.

"It's a big help because I still have bills to pay and with that you're able to pay your bills and still have a little change in your pocket," Harris said.

The housing authority CEO Phil Steinhaus said the group is constantly working to preserve this service to the community.

"If you're going to break the cycle of poverty, where's the first place you want to start? You want to put a roof over a family's head," Steinhaus said.

But maintaining that roof is getting harder with time. The largest CHA public housing development, Providence Townhomes, was built in the 1950s and is starting to fall apart.

"The biggest challenge that we have is our plumbing system," Steinhaus said. "They are old cast iron pipes. They've had over 50 years of use."

Rusty pipes, sinking slab floors and cracking walls are just a few of the problems the older properties face. There are also no dryer hook-ups and washers crowd in by the stove.

"We really can't afford to let the houses deteriorate," Steinhaus said. "They continue to take more and more maintenance and after 50 years they really are starting to need major renovations."

The CHA can't let that happen because thousands of families and their children need its assistance. In fact, more than 50 percent of the people the CHA serves are children 18 years old and younger.

"Most people living in public housing the average income is about $10,000 a year. So
really low," Steinhaus said.

The key to that statement is many do have incomes. CHA fights to dispel the belief that its residents are along for a free ride.

"People have a belief that people are not trying that people are lazy and that's just simply not the case," Steinhaus said. "We have a lot of working families trying to make ends meet."

"I like the work and I'm not a lazy person, and I just like to work and that's my motivation," Harris said. "It's the only way I can survive is if I get up and go to work."

Thanks to the CHA, she's not just going to work, but working toward something.

"What do I hope for my future? I hope I can buy me a house, a house that I will love," Harris said.

The organization is also setting up plans for its future. It recently applied to HUD's Rental Assistance Demonstration Program or RAD, which will make it easier to acquire low income housing tax credits to fund projects like the much needed renovations. The RAD program will help get the tax credits because it will allow the CHA to receive more stable and predictable funding.

Currently, HUD provides an operating fund and a capital fund for projects, but the amount of money the CHA receives is prone to fluctuating annually due to federal budget cuts. With more reliable funds available through RAD, it will make it easier for the CHA to acquire the low income housing tax credits needed to renovate units.

The CHA also hopes to receive additional low income housing tax credits to build a 42-unit apartment complex near Sexton and Garth. This complex would be considered affordable housing, different than public housing or section 8 vouchers. The rent would be set at a fixed "affordable" rate compared to the market and tenants would pay the entire rent payment. They would also have to be income eligible to live there.

The CHA receives the majority of its funding through federal assistance from HUD. For more information on the organization, click here.

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - KOMU 8 News sat down Wednesday with University of Missouri political science professor Cooper Drury to get an... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 8:36:00 PM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
SEDALIA - The total solar eclipse will attract huge crowds to mid-Missouri, but the last time there was a massive... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 7:35:00 PM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Police released the results of an autopsy investigation following the death of a 4-year-old boy in May, ruling... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 4:15:00 PM CDT August 16, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Local healthcare providers and state representatives met at a town hall Wednesday to discuss fallout from Gov. Eric... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 3:58:00 PM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – Ameren Missouri looked to educate the Columbia Fire Department about natural gas and how to find signs of... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 3:18:00 PM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday a Columbia man pleaded guilty for his role in a plan to smuggle... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 3:10:40 PM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Several of Missouri's legislators responded Wednesday to the violence from Charlottesville over the weekend. KOMU 8 News... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 1:24:00 PM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The nation's largest pharmacy benefit manager will soon limit the number and strength of opioid... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 1:15:51 PM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
LADDONIA - Water issues have recently erupted for the around 500 residents of the small town of Laddonia in... More >>
16 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 1:01:00 PM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A black firefighters organization has settled its 2015 lawsuit against the city of St. Louis over... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 12:06:55 PM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Public Service Commission denied grant approval of the Grain Belt Express Clean Line that would... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 11:35:00 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Policies for prep sports in Missouri are among the safest in the country, according to a new report... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 11:05:00 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in Continuous News
CREVE COEUR (AP) — With his suburban St. Louis meeting with the Israeli ambassador as a backdrop, Missouri's first Jewish... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 10:57:00 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
FULTON - The President of William Woods University announced Wednesday that the university's main campus in Fulton will be closed... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 10:40:00 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in Eclipse Impact
COLUMBIA - Police officers responded to a report of a shooting on Greensboro Drive around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. Officers... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 10:18:00 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA — Two organizations will host a town hall on Wednesday to discuss the impacts of Gov. Eric Greitens' veto... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 10:10:00 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Treasurer Eric Schmitt says he's backing fellow Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley to run... More >>
19 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 9:41:00 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities say a woman has been arrested on charges of embezzling more than $2 million while... More >>
19 hours ago Wednesday, August 16 2017 Aug 16, 2017 Wednesday, August 16, 2017 9:25:45 AM CDT August 16, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 68°
6am 69°
7am 68°
8am 72°
9am 74°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

5:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
6:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
7:00a
Today
5:00a
Paid Program
5:30a
Paid Program
6:00a
King of the Hill

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Wall
8:00p
Saturday Night Live
8:30p
Great News
9:00p
The Night Shift
7:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
8:00p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
8:30p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld