City Notes: Housing authority works with renters and with landlords

By Heidi Nielsen, Charles City Housing and Redevelopment Authority Director

The Charles City Housing Authority exists to provide safe, decent and affordable housing to low-income families. As of May 1 there are 168 families, which are made up of 343 household members, on the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Ofthose household members, there are 56 children under 5 years old, 89 school-age children, 178 adults age 18-61, and 20 elderly individuals 62 and older. Of the 343 household members 24 percent are disabled.

This program provides our families with resources necessary to ensure that they have a safe place to live.

However, we cannot do it alone. The local landlords play a vital role in the success of our Section 8 program.

Landlords gain several benefits from participating in our program, such as:

• Eliminate or reduce advertising costs. Working with our program gives landlords access to a pool of ready-to-rent tenants. If a landlord contacts us with a listing of vacant units, we refer clients looking for housing.

• Guaranteed rent payments. Our landlords receive a portion of the rent each month from our agency.

• Clients are attached to needed services. We make referrals when possible to make sure our clients have the support they need to succeed.

• Problem prevention through regular home inspections. Regular inspections allow landlords to identify and address problems early before they become irreparable.

• Neutral party to mediate problems. Despite the best efforts, problems are sometimes inevitable. However, when problems arise, it can be reassuring to know that there is someone to call. We care as much about our relationship with our landlords as we do our clients.

• Satisfaction from helping others. Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to live. Some people make mistakes, but everyone deserves a second chance. By helping house our clients, our landlords play an integral role not only in helping individuals take charge of their lives, but also in making our community a better place to live.

If you own any rental property in Charles City and haven’t utilized the Section 8 program and would like to learn more, we can be reached at the office at 501 Cedar Terrace South or 641-228-6661.