More Affordable Housing Needed in Columbia

3 years 3 months 2 weeks ago August 22, 2013 Aug 22, 2013 Thursday, August 22 2013 Thursday, August 22, 2013 7:31:00 PM CDT in News
By: Emily Spain, KOMU 8 Anchor

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
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Transportation reported Wednesday a rise in pedestrian deaths in Missouri. It said nearly... More >>
3 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 6:57:00 PM CST in Top Stories
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A southwest Missouri jury has convicted a 41-year-old Springfield man in the 2014 death of a 21-year-old... More >>
3 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 6:55:33 PM CST in News
MILLER COUNTY - A woman died after a rollover crash early Wednesday morning on Route A. Missouri State Highway... More >>
3 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 6:36:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri's Republican House Speaker Todd Richardson is calling for an investigation of the state Department of... More >>
4 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 5:23:42 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Black women have many beauty products to pick through, but not all products are safe according to a... More >>
5 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 4:47:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY – A U.S. district judge sentenced a Columbia man Wednesday for child sex trafficking. Kenyata Miles, 35,... More >>
5 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 4:35:00 PM CST in Top Stories
FULTON- The state's Office of Administration announced $97.2 million in bonds to rebuild the Fulton State Hospital. The hospital is... More >>
6 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 3:49:00 PM CST in Top Stories
EDWARDSVILLE (AP) — A Missouri man has been ordered to spend 40 years in prison after having admitted in court... More >>
6 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 3:36:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Opponents are suing to stop a new Missouri constitutional amendment to limit political giving. ... More >>
6 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 3:26:38 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Federal Drug Administration is making moves to help the hearing impaired have easier access to hearing... More >>
6 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 3:26:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has begun spending more time at his new home in the St.... More >>
6 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 3:19:00 PM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Eight Chicago residents have been indicted by a federal grand jury for the smash-and-grab crime at... More >>
6 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 3:17:31 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri released official recommendations on Wednesday for how the institution can proceed in addressing issues... More >>
7 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 3:01:00 PM CST in News
FULTON - It was a special day at the Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society in Fulton. Today marks the 75th... More >>
7 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 2:42:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri Student Health Center announced Wednesday it has identified 193 confirmed and probable mumps cases... More >>
7 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 2:38:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Jay Nixon announced Wednesday he was restricting $51 million in Medicaid and other spending and making... More >>
8 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 1:57:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — Police arrested Elisabeth Trumbower of Columbia Tuesday after she allegedly falsified and fullfilled multiple prescriptions for Adderall. ... More >>
8 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 1:43:00 PM CST in News
HARTVILLE (AP) — The state auditor says an audit shows new possible fraud by a former county collector who recently... More >>
9 hours ago December 07, 2016 Dec 7, 2016 Wednesday, December 07 2016 Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:52:19 PM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 27°
10pm 26°
11pm 25°
12am 23°
1am 23°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

10:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
10:35p
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
11:37p
Late Night with Seth Meyers
10:00p
The King of Queens
10:30p
The King of Queens
11:00p
Rules of Engagement

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Hairspray Live!
9:55p
To Be Announced
7:00p
Arrow
8:00p
Frequency
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld