City of Columbia calls for applicants to boards and commissions

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COLUMBIA — The City of Columbia is looking for applicants to fill spots on numerous boards and commissions. There are 31 vacancies on 10 different government entities.

Applications will be accepted for the positions until 5:00 p.m. on Nov. 4.

The Community Land Trust Organization Board was formed in September and is looking for six new members. It is a non-profit organization that aims to create affordable housing by buying land.

According to a document provided by City of Columbia Housing Programs Supervisor Randy Cole, the city will subsidize the cost up to $30,000. The homes are leased to owners with incomes in that HUD defines as 80 percent of the area median income. For one person, this is an annual income of $39,000 or less. For a family of four, this would be $55,700 or less a year.

While Cole said he hopes for the board to have land throughout the city, properties at 105-115 Lynn Street at Lynn and Garth are the current spots slated for the trust. When these homes are sold, owners are required to keep a low price when selling to another eligible owner. Cole said the exact method for doing this will be decided by the board.

The position posting on the City’s website said the board is seeking neighborhood representatives, community and business leaders. Once the homes are filled, additional residents will be added to the board to represent their interests. Those with business experience will be especially helpful.  

“It’s important to have people with that professional background in housing or business just to make sure that we’re making good, sound business decisions that’ll ensure that the organization is viable and sustainable for the long term and that it’s grounded in good decision making,” Cole said.

Phil Steinhaus, the CEO of the Columbia Housing Authority, said there are a few qualities he hopes board members will exhibit.

“They need a understand of housing, housing development and need representation of those actually being served by the program,” Steinhaus said. “I think it takes a good mix of folks. Understanding the issues facing low income families., those that are living it, so to speak. They might understand barriers that others don’t understand.”