Commissioners hear potential housing assistance plans | News, sports, jobs
LOCK HAVEN — The Clinton County Housing Authority is looking for support in its efforts to combat the ongoing homelessness crisis within the county.
Clinton County Commissioners heard from Jeff Rich, the authority’s executive director, and Jackie Condor, Northern Tier regional director, about the proposed grant – the 2023 Fair Housing Grant.
Rich admitted he often talks about the housing crisis faced by many in the county.
“I may sound like a broken record, but the problem isn’t getting better,” he said. “In fact, lately it seems to be trending up a little bit.”
Rich noted that the definition of homeless can vary from Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the school district, and even an individual’s idea of what homelessness means.
“These are the people who live in their cars, who live on the streets, who move between friends. Then there are those who are just on the cusp. ‘If something happens to their car tomorrow, they probably won’t be able to pay their rent next month,'” he said. The important thing is to take these people into consideration along with the other people we talked about.
The county has 451 applications for public housing, Rich said. Of this number, 234 are county residents.
“We have to accept those applications,” Rich said of out-of-county applicants. “But we have preferences in place that allow our community to access our services before those who are not in our community.”
Rich also noted that the Authority’s bunker is full and always is. He added: “I know that we had talks with the Peace Roads organization and that their shelter is full as well.”
The authority also provides a returning citizens program for individuals recently released from prison.
“These are people who are leaving prison and don’t have a home plan,” Rich said.
The Authority can support six individuals at a time in this program.
“We actually have three people who could qualify for the program. I don’t have room for them right now,” he said.
Rich said he shared this information to emphasize the need for additional assistance for those in need within the county. Aid he hopes commissioners will support in her quest for fair housing funds.
This grant application includes the creation of the Hope Mitchell House. A facility located along Bellefonte Street in the city that previously housed a gym.
This program can create six one-bedroom units and is the first of its kind in the community, Rich said.
“Five of the units will serve as permanent supportive housing,” he said.
Condor provided an overview of this new program – the Permanent Supportive Housing Program.
Condor noted that although the program will be new to the county, she and other authority employees have worked with other agencies that have similar programs.
“It is permanent housing as well as supportive services for families that have at least one adult family member with a disability,” Condor said.
She noted that the eligible individual will have to sign a lease or something similar and will be treated as a regular housing situation.
This program will not only provide permanent housing, but also provide a more intensive system of support services for those in need, Condor said.
“The fact of the matter is that some families do not succeed in rapid rehousing programs because they need more supportive services and services that we cannot provide through our other programs,” she said.
Condor said the program will help prevent some families from finding themselves in crisis again.
Rich noted that at least 4 to 8 families often qualify for this program each month.
“If this project goes ahead and we start leasing, preference will be given to people who meet the criteria,” he said. “But if the community doesn’t have enough people to fill the units, we can fill them with other people experiencing homelessness.”
Regarding project funding, Rich said the authority has already received $818,425 in a rural housing grant. Of this amount, $750,000 was allocated to rehabilitate the facility. The remainder will be allocated to cover operating expenses for three years.
“The idea is that if we can do this at a minimal cost, with minimal debt, we can make this a very affordable and attractive rental opportunity for this community,” he said. “It will be self-sufficient.”
The total cost of the project is currently $1.3 million. However, Rich said he is in talks with the project engineer to narrow that down.
The project also received a $200,000 commitment from the Housing Authority and the Clinton County Housing Coalition is looking to raise $100,000 through future grant opportunities.
“We want to show our organizations’ commitment. We don’t want to ask for everything to be handed over to us,” Rich said.
Rich stressed that the property will also remain on the tax rolls.
“We will be eligible for that but our goal is to make this project self-sustaining and just be a daily rental property like any other property we find in our community,” he said.
(tags for translation) Local News (T) Commissioners hear about potential housing assistance plans