Housing Authority sees rise in voucher program

Monday, May 15, 2006

The numbers are going up, and Max Johnson couldn't be more pleased.

At Thursday's Greencastle Housing Authority meeting, Executive Director Max Johnson informed the board the latest statistics in the Section 8 voucher program showed an increase in the program.

In fact, the program is nearly at full strength, after several months of being below where it had been starting in 2005.

As of May 11, the program had 184 vouchers out, the maximum number the housing authority can manage. In April, the program had only 178 vouchers out and it started the year at 173.

"That's our maximum under lease, which is kind of exciting," Johnson told the five board members in attendance.

GHA Board President Marjorie Smith and member Richard Shuck were not at Thursday's meeting.

At Thursday's meeting, Johnson said the money received from The Department of Housing and Urban Development had once again changed, but he expected it to remain the same for the remainder of the year.

"I think we have what we're going to have," he said.

GHA received $46,598 from HUD in May, but used $48,075 for a difference of $1,477. For the year, the Section 8 program is $2,295 in the black after seeing different amounts of monthly money from HUD since March.

For example, GHA received $50,109 for the program in April, but got only $46,598 in March.

"It's thrown us a bit," Johnson said of the fluctuation of money in recent months. "But we've actually been able to up our unit count, which is nice. This is about as good as we could hope for."

Meanwhile, Johnson informed the board that there were 11 occupants in the A-Way Home Shelter as of Thursday, its lowest amount in several months.

"That's the lowest we've had in a long time," Johnson said.

He said there were five adults and six children in the shelter.

In addition, Johnson told the board the shelter is still struggling in terms of money.

"It's going to be tight, but we have a shot at being in the black," Johnson said. He said the shelter was $2,500 in the red as of May 11. "We're going to be close."

Johnson said Linda Norris had expressed an interest in being on the shelter board. Norris had previously lived at the shelter.

"I think she'd be a good choice," Johnson said.

He said Bob Weiss had expressed interest in becoming a shelter board member.

"He's been a long-time supporter of the shelter," Johnson told the board.

The board voted unanimously in favor of both to become shelter board members.

In other news, the board:

-- The board learned that Northview Apartments had full occupancy as of May 11.

-- Approved a request from Johnson to change the petty cash policy. Johnson told the board members the cash policy had been $100 for quite some time, but increases in costs for gasoline, among other items, prompted Johnson to ask for an upgrade. The board voted unanimously to increase petty cash to $250.

The board meets regularly on the second Thursday of each month. Its next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., June 8.

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