For the first time since 2010, local housing authority Housing Works has been able to issue rental assistance through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program.
A federally-funded program administered locally by Housing Works, the vouchers mean 200 local households randomly selected from the official waitlist will get much-needed rent support.
“We’re so pleased to finally have the funds to release these vouchers,” said Kenny LaPoint, Housing and Resident Services Director for Housing Works. “While the money was a long time in coming, we’ve been able to issue the associated vouchers faster than ever before, thanks to our new online application system. The demand for rental assistance is high given the state of our economy. And while federal funding remains tight, we know that we’ve at least improved the lives of 200 more Central Oregon families.”
The HCV program currently assists a total of 1,140 families in the tri-county area – Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson. The vouchers issued will pay a portion of a family’s rent based on gross household income.
The federally-funded vouchers also play an important role in stabilizing the local rental market.
Through the HCV program, rental payments to area landlords add up to over $7,000,000 annually. “Of course, the primary benefit of the vouchers is to help our most vulnerable populations with a basic life necessity – housing,” explains LaPoint. “There’s also the positive economic effect for local landlords and property managers. It’s a real help in stabilizing Central Oregon’s real estate inventory. Without this program, property values in the region could be struggling more than they are today.”
LaPoint considers each voucher a validation of Housing Works’ mission to foster dignity through housing. “These vouchers are a ‘win’ for these Central Oregon families, and a critical step for them in improving their lives.”
Housing Works is the leading affordable housing provider in Central Oregon, serving Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson counties. Since 1977, Housing Works has helped provide housing services to thousands of low-income families as they work to move above the poverty line. Housing Works fulfills its mission, “Fostering Dignity through Housing,” through a variety of housing programs and affiliated Families Forward, HomeQuest and Family Self-Sufficiency programs. Currently, Housing Works serves approximately 1,600 households through affordable housing partnerships, grant funding and federal contracts.