SIDNEY — The Shelby Metropolitan Housing Authority (SMHA) is a rental assistance agency that has been serving Shelby County for more than 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 Shelby Metropolitan Housing Authority provides rental assistance for low-to moderate 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 families who meet the guidelines to rent 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. A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord behalf of the participating family. The family is responsible for the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program. Currently the housing authority is assisting 219 families and has 151 landlords who participate in this program. There were 267 families helped in 2016.
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) that they received. We are currently assisting 60 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 10 Veterans families in 2016.
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 2014 Capital Fund Program (CFP) money by completing the paving of all parking lots at all our complexes in 2016. And the 2016 CFP dollars will be used for driveways and patios at Mount Vernon. Despite the tense political season we have just been through we are all very eager to see whether reform of housing programs and adequate funding will be a priority for our new administration.
Nationally, more people are choosing to rent, and the need for affordable housing is no longer just a low income group 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.
For more information on the Shelby Metropolitan Housing Authority or its programs, call 937- 498-9898.