STEPHANIE'S HRA Video 

                                        STEPHANIE'S HRA Video 

HRA

 

 

The Housing and Rehabilitation Authority is a program charged with helping people who are housing compromised by income, disability or age. We assist low income residents with obtaining affordable housing by providing rental assistance, using H.U.D. and Section 8 vouchers, and other programs.  Our local HRA initiated many innovative programs, including the Master Lease Program which guarantees landlords who agree to accept high risk tenants, that the county will pay rent or repairs to units if things do not work out well. This allows people with currently poor background rental checks to establish themselves and eventually create good rental background checks. We all know that the key to a stable life is to know where you will sleep tonight – that is key for all ages.  That is why we also support programs that support single parent families who struggle with housing stability, and why we work hard to find housing for un-sheltered homeless people. To help people who have lost income from the COVID19 crisis, we have initiated a program to pay the rent for 3 months for folks who have lost their income or who have become ill.

Our local HRA is unique in that the county board of commissioners, plus one community member, comprise the HRA board of directors. We have provided the HRA with their own levy line and have authorized the HRA to be funded to the full extent allowed by the state.  Our local HRA also uses their levy funds to leverage state and federal funds to expand our programs and build new ones.  The HRA has leverage over $26 million in housing funding.

Years ago, it was obvious that many working people had difficulty finding affordable housing, and that a well-funded HRA was key to building a successful thriving community.  In 2018 I advocated fully funding our HRA.  At that time the county board voted instead to fund the HRA at half the allowable rate.   A year later the Board saw what the HRA staff had accomplished, and unanimously voted approval of a fully funded HRA as part of our 2019 budget. Our community needs a reliable work force; if people can’t live here, they won’t work here.

We have State and Federal mandates to support residents who, despite working hard, make between 30% and 60% or less of the area median income.  We also serve both elderly and homeless residents, who deserve a hand-up to housing stability. Short term, the pandemic forced us to focus on our homeless population. Good solutions are now in place to mitigate much of their plight. Regarding development: we can manage about one new affordable housing project every other year. The HRA is currently working with Center City Housing and the state on a new affordable permanent housing project near Apache Mall.

Now is the time to focus on rehabilitation and repair of low-income elderly residences.  That is where I think we should focus. Allowing people to avoid nursing homes and age in place with safety and dignity is my choice for our next intense efforts.

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PAID FOR BY THE PODULKE FOR COUNTY COMMISSIONER COMMITTEE, ROBERT CLINE CHAIR, 1010 SKYLINE DRIVE SW ROCHESTER MN

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