More Affordable Housing Needed in Columbia

6 years 5 months 4 days 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
KINGDOM CITY— A Callaway County Sheriff's Office deputy found a stole firearm, numerous "felony level controlled substances" and drug paraphernalia... More >>
45 minutes ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 10:50:00 AM CST January 26, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Abortion is expected to play a key role in Missouri's 2020 governor’s race, when voters... More >>
1 hour ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 10:21:45 AM CST January 26, 2020 in News
BENTON COUNTY — A Blue Springs, Missouri woman is dead after a crash Saturday night. Andralee Taylor, 32, was... More >>
2 hours ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 9:20:01 AM CST January 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- Singing, dancing, and speaking were all part of The Cultural Association of India's annual India Day celebration Saturday afternoon.... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 5:05:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA— Officers with the University of Missouri Police Department arrested John T. McLiney, 19, on one count of... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 4:00:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Choral Arts Alliance of Missouri is holding its 5th Annual Unity Concert. The goal of the event... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 3:53:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in News
FULTON - About 20 Fulton YMCA members kicked the cold Saturday by bundling up and running in the 4th annual... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 3:48:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE — The third annual Superfinn Autism Foundation Guns and Hoses Event was hosted at Boonville High School Saturday. ... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 3:10:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA- More than 100 people showed up for the 7th annual ROC 7K Trail run at Cosmo Park Saturday morning.... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 3:04:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Dozens of veterans showed up to All American Dental for free dental work Saturday. Leroy Strube, a... More >>
21 hours ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 2:04:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Como Shorts Filmmaker Showcase hosts multiple local artists this weekend to present their films. The showcase... More >>
21 hours ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 1:54:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The CoMo Short Showcase highlights local filmmakers and their original work in the community. The goal is... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 4:45:00 AM CST January 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A hearing has been set for Joseph Elledge on Feb. 3 at 3:00 p.m. at the Boone County... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 24 2020 Jan 24, 2020 Friday, January 24, 2020 8:02:00 PM CST January 24, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE – With the closing of Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Boonville, it will likely take longer for emergency officials to... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 24 2020 Jan 24, 2020 Friday, January 24, 2020 7:50:00 PM CST January 24, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE (AP) - Missouri is planning to cut more than 1,700 beds at prisons across the state. Department of... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 24 2020 Jan 24, 2020 Friday, January 24, 2020 6:47:00 PM CST January 24, 2020 in News
GUTHRIE TOWNSHIP - Deputies have one suspect in custody in a murder investigation. The Callaway County Sheriff's Office said there... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 24 2020 Jan 24, 2020 Friday, January 24, 2020 5:41:00 PM CST January 24, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Students avoided slick roads after the University of Missouri closed campus on Friday. The school alerted students... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 24 2020 Jan 24, 2020 Friday, January 24, 2020 2:07:00 PM CST January 24, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - After a heavy snow fall Thursday night, Susan Stephenson received notifications that Columbia Public Schools would not be... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 24 2020 Jan 24, 2020 Friday, January 24, 2020 1:28:00 PM CST January 24, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 37°
12pm 38°
1pm 39°
2pm 41°
3pm 41°