SMHA serves county residents for 30-plus years



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 (56), Hewitt Villa (24), Mount Vernon (20), Jackson Towers (50 elderly), and Shelby Manor (25). We assisted 46 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 216 families and has 97 landlords who participate in this program. There were 269 families helped in 2019.

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). TBRA works just like the Section 8 voucher program. We are currently accepting TBRA applications for this 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 nine veterans families in 2019. To apply for HUD-VASH, contact your Dayton VA Homeless Program.

Recently we have introduced monthly educational programs offered for SMHA residents. At our senior building, Coffee with a Sheriff and a 2020 Census Update have been two of the more popular programs offered so far. Blood Pressure Clinics will begin in February. We will continue to offer informative programs of value in the areas of education, health/medical, and local or national current events to all residents. 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. Maintaining our properties and programs has continued to be difficult because of economic conditions and the shifting of federal budget appropriations. However, Wells gives credit to SMHA staff for their positive approach to daily challenges. Credit is also given to the SMHA Board of Directors Jan Geuy, James Frye, Dimitri Williams and Frank Mariano. SMHA continues to collaborate with the community on all housing issues. We believe that these Community Partnerships are very important in our functioning as a committed member of the greater community.

The SMHA is dedicated to serving low-income families by providing quality housing opportunities and promoting economic self-sufficiency. We are accepting applications for all programs. For more information on SMHA or its programs, call 937-498-9898.