Housing Authority Executive Director Dean Byers and Interim Director Donna Vela appeared before the Commissioners hoping the county would provide free office space for their agency.
Byers, who has been the director of the Housing Authority since 1995 explained that cut backs and hard times have fallen on the organization that has been assisting families with rent payments for suitable housing years.
Housing Authorities are created by local governments through grants from the HUD Voucher Choice Program. Currently there are 171 vouchers available for the county, bringing in an estimated $600,000 to $700,000 annually. Byers said funding comes in two ways: assistance in rent and funds for administrative costs of the office. The office funding has changed and is now based on the number of vouchers in use. He said it is not uncommon for 10 to 12 of the vouchers to become open each month. Byers explained that it can take 60 to 90 days to get those vouchers back in use. He also noted that they are not allowed to co-mingle funds between administrative and rental assistance.
Commissioner Kevin Overmyer said, “So if we don’t help you would have to close up shop and citizens who benefit would have to go to another county to secure a voucher?”
Byers said, “By allowing us to have free rental space, you will be keeping the program going.”
Overmyer said there is space available in the basement of the Court House, where Victim’s Assistance had been. He also said there are some concerns of the security staff in the Court House on additional people being in the Court House on Tuesdays, their busiest day.
Typical office hours for the Marshall County Housing Authority are 8:30 to 11:30 Monday through Friday although the staff works in the office from 11:30 to 3 daily. They average approximately 30 people a week in the office. Byers explained that many are scheduled appointments and that they would be willing to schedule a lesser number of clients on Tuesdays to accommodate security staff concerns.
The County Commissioners unanimously approved the request and Byers said he anticipated being moved by April 1st.