SMHA serves county as rental assistance agency

For the Sidney Daily News



SIDNEY — The Shelby Metropolitan Housing Authority (SMHA) is a rental assistance agency that has been serving Shelby County for over 30 years.

According to Judith J. Wells, Executive Director of SMHA, this agency is a political subdivision of the state of Ohio and is funded by tax dollars administered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Developments (HUD).

Her report continues: The SMHA provides rental assistance for low-to moderate income families for safe, decent, and sanitary housing.

The SMHA administers the following programs:

• The Low-Rent Public Housing Program owns and manages 175 apartments at the following complexes: Hilltop Manor and Hewitt Villa (80), Mount Vernon (20), Jackson Towers (50 elderly), and Shelby Manor (25). We assisted 54 new families this year. Occupancy averaged 98 percent for the year. All families must meet income eligibility and family composition.

• The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program provides rental assistance to eligible families through a private landlord on the open market in Shelby County and receive rental subsidy based on their income. The selected unit must pass a housing quality standard inspection. Subsidy is paid to the landlord on behalf of the family. The family is responsible for the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the subsidized amount . The Section 8 Rent Reasonableness was updated which compares similar units that are not on the program. Currently the housing authority is assisting 219 families and has 151 landlords who participate in this program. There were 252 families helped in 2017.

• SMHA has partnered with the city of Sidney and Shelby County to administer a Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program (TBRA) with funds from the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant). We are currently assisting 75 families for this 18 month round of funding.

• Veteran Affairs Supporting Housing (VASH) helps chronically homeless Veterans with long term housing provided by the SMHA Section 8 Voucher program, intensive case management provided by the Dayton VA, and community support. HUD has awarded Shelby County 12 HUD-VASH vouchers based on geographic need and public housing agency administrative performance. We assisted 13 Veterans families in 2017.

SMHA participates in required audits. All financial and managerial requirements have been satisfied. Wells gives credit to all SMHA staff for their positive approach to daily challenges. Credit is also given to the SMHA Board of Directors Jan Geuy, Shyla Goffena, Rufus “Rick” Sims Jr., James Frye and Ernest Williams.

Maintaining our properties and programs has been increasingly difficult in recent years because of economic conditions and shifting federal spending priorities. However, we were able to satisfy the 2015 and 2017 Capital Fund Program (CFP) money by completing new roofing at Shelby Manor, Hewitt Villa, and Mount Vernon. At Jackson Towers we updated the Security System, updated the key fob system, and replaced an interior front door.

Nationally, more people are choosing to rent, and the need for affordable housing is no longer just a low income problem. The lack of affordable housing adversely impacts economic development, educational achievement, and basic quality of life. Future projects include the continuation of all programs, and continue to collaborate with the community for emergency housing. In addition, the SMHA and the Shelby County CoC actively participate in the Point-In-Time Study to identify homeless and develop effective plans to address and end homelessness or for those at-risk of becoming homeless.

It is our pleasure to continue to serve the housing needs of our community. For more information on the Shelby Metropolitan Housing Authority or its programs, call 937-498-9898.


For the Sidney Daily News