Larry Gray, executive director of the Fayette/Highland Metropolitan Housing Authority, which serves the communities of both counties, said that the agency is working with other agencies throughout the county in an effort to address the overall housing needs that are endemic to the region, and that they hope to eventually develop housing programs for senior citizens, a group currently not among those who can request aid.
Gray said that demographics and personal circumstances factor into who can be placed on a waiting list from which clients are identified for further assistance. He said that the current qualifications for help include disabled adults up to age 61 or families with minor children.
Gray said that, “we currently have no programs that are open to seniors,” but “we are looking for new programs that can help our senior population.”
He explained that the housing authority also has voucher programs such as the Family Unification and Emergency Housing Vouchers for those who are homeless that pertain to specific circumstances.
The housing authority’s website details further income requirements that are “subject to change annually” to qualify for the assistance it provides towards its stated goal of “decent, safe housing for low income families.”
Overall, there is a lack of affordable housing for low income renters, according to the most recent Ohio Housing Needs Assessment report produced by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. The data indicated that almost half of renters throughout Ohio, including Highland County, experienced significant cost burdens translating into spending 30 percent or more of their income and utilities, with about a quarter spending 50 percent of their income on those costs.
The Ohio Finance Agency’s housing summary detailed the economic consequences of this phenomenon.
“It limits the household’s ability to afford other daily needs, such as transportation, health care, or any unexpected expenditures.”
Gray continued that, “we are currently working on updating our website and Facebook for more information and access to our programs.”.
“We will be glad to assist you anyway we can,” Gray added.
For more information about the Fayette/Highland Metropolitan Housing Authority, access its website at www.fayette-co-oh.com.
Juliane Cartaino is a stringer for The Times-Gazette.