More Affordable Housing Needed in Columbia

5 years 3 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 - People gathered at Hickman High School on Saturday to celebrate holidays from several cultures. KOPN Community Radio... More >>
2 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 9:10:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia College had a special moment during the graduation ceremony Saturday to honor a student who died in... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 8:15:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Diocese confirmed Saturday three people were added to its list of clergy accused of... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 7:31:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A 19-year-old woman was shot Saturday afternoon near Aspen Heights Parkway, police said. At around 2:40 p.m.,... More >>
7 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 4:40:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri State Capitol has recently completed an effort to restore and conserve the building's... More >>
8 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 3:26:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE - Anyone walking around Boonville might be able to play a game of "I spy" now that painted rocks... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 10:50:00 AM CST December 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- High school football teams from around the state will travel to Memorial Stadium for the next five years to... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 9:41:00 AM CST December 15, 2018 in Sports
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke , who's facing federal investigations into his travel, political... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 8:53:00 AM CST December 15, 2018 in News
ASHLAND - The Southern Boone Area YMCA will build a new 15,714 square-foot facility in the next two years, if... More >>
15 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 7:48:00 AM CST December 15, 2018 in News
ALTON, Ill. (AP) — Authorities are looking for a man who is suspected of fleeing to Missouri after officers shot... More >>
16 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 7:12:00 AM CST December 15, 2018 in News
PERRYVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A former county official from southeast Missouri already in prison on a conviction of exploiting the... More >>
16 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 7:09:52 AM CST December 15, 2018 in News
NEW BLOOMFIELD - The Holts Summit Police Department has offered to include New Bloomfield in its coverage area for the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 14 2018 Dec 14, 2018 Friday, December 14, 2018 9:47:00 PM CST December 14, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- A federal judge in Texas said on Friday that the Affordable Care Act's individual coverage mandate is unconstitutional... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 14 2018 Dec 14, 2018 Friday, December 14, 2018 8:12:00 PM CST December 14, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON - A new report released Friday ranks Missouri 48th in the nation for tobacco use prevention programs. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 14 2018 Dec 14, 2018 Friday, December 14, 2018 8:08:00 PM CST December 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The South End Zone Project at Faurot Field is just over halfway through its construction timeline and people... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 14 2018 Dec 14, 2018 Friday, December 14, 2018 3:46:00 PM CST December 14, 2018 in News
FULTON - Connie Cashion is the 2018 winner for the city's Jane Bierdeman-Fike Humanitarian Award. The award goes to... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 14 2018 Dec 14, 2018 Friday, December 14, 2018 3:16:00 PM CST December 14, 2018 in News
FULTON - A Fulton nonprofit surpassed their volunteer goal and is able to give over 400 children a Christmas miracle.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 14 2018 Dec 14, 2018 Friday, December 14, 2018 2:52:00 PM CST December 14, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - State Auditor Nicole Galloway will join the investigation into Josh Hawley's use of funds during his Senate... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 14 2018 Dec 14, 2018 Friday, December 14, 2018 2:44:00 PM CST December 14, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 33°
12am 33°
1am 32°
2am 32°
3am 31°