SMHA continues to serve county residents



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, the 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). The SMHA provides rental assistance for low-to moderate income families for safe, decent, and sanitary housing.

Wells said 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 48 new families this year. Occupancy averaged 100 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 95 landlords who participate in this program. There were 252 families helped in 2018.

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 49 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 12 veteran families in 2018.

SMHA participates in required audits. Recently, SMHA was awarded the Auditor of the State Award for a clean audit with excellent recordkeeping. Less than 8 percent of 5,900 entities qualify for this award. 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, James Frye, Dmitri Williams and Ernest Williams.

Maintaining our properties and programs has continued to be difficult because of economic conditions and the shifting of federal budget appropriations. Projects include the completion of roofing on all units, and continue to collaborate with the community on all housing issues. In July we adopted the “We Care, Share Clean Air” campaign in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Final Rule “Instituting Smoke-Free Public Housing”.

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.

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