Advertisement

Archive for Friday, April 23, 1999

RESIDENTS FEAR LOSS OF RENTAL VOUCHERS

April 23, 1999

Advertisement

Residents of Clinton Place want to make sure they can keep their Section 8 rental vouchers for use on site, at home.

As affordable housing dries up across the midwest, tenants of at least one subsidized apartment complex don't want Lawrence to be next.

Members of the Clinton Place Tenants Assn. (CPTA) today will team up with residents across the country to lobby Congress to stem the tide of dwindling Section 8 rental vouchers.

CPTA is an affiliate of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants, which has compiled information that shows a 227-percent increase in early pay-offs of federal-subsidized mortgages in the midwest for affordable housing projects during the past eight months. Nationally, the loss rate jumped only 135 percent during the same period.

Such early pay-offs free the project owners from Section 8 regulations, and allow them to rent apartments at market rates.

Residents of the 58 subsidized apartments at Clinton Place, 2125 Clinton Pkwy., are worried that their homes could be freed from Section 8 regulations next year, when the project's federal agreement expires.

Kelly Smith, president of CPTA, fears her rent could jump 50 percent if forced to pay market rates.

"We're worried," Smith said. "We're just going to have to be strong ... and get our point through."

Representatives of CTPA plans to send letters today to Kansas' congressional delegation, asking for legislation to protect such affordable housing in the state and across the country. Members of similar associations also will be signing similar letters today in California, Colorado, Texas and other areas, Smith said.

Three apartment projects in Lawrence have agreements expiring within the next two years. Here's the schedule:

  • Sept. 5: Prairie Ridge Place, 2424 Melrose Ln.
  • May 21, 2000: Clinton Place.
  • July 28, 2000: Vermont Towers, 1101 Vt.

Local officials have not yet received word about whether each project's owner plans to "opt out" of the federal rental-subsidy program, but they're keeping an eye on matters. If the projects turn over to market rates, all tenants would be eligible for "preservation vouchers" that could be used elsewhere in town.

If such vouchers are made available, however, they would remain effective only as long as residents use them, said Lou Ann Lee, the city's housing program specialist. Once given up -- Lee calls it "attrition" -- they would not return.

"Those vouchers disappear from community," Lee said. "Although it may take many years, the potential -- the possibility -- is that we would lose almost 220 units."

-- Mark Fagan's phone message number is 832-7188. His e-mail address is mfagan@ljworld.com.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.