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Housing authority has 241 new vouchers to help families get housing and avoid homelessness

'There's no question we can use these vouchers'
This apartment complex is part of Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority's housing choice voucher program. The buildings have tan brick, white doors and dark shingle roofs.
Posted at 6:08 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 21:42:34-04

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority has 241 new emergency vouchers to help secure housing for people who are homeless or on the verge of becoming homeless.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the vouchers as part of federal CARES Act funding, CMHA announced in a news release Tuesday.

“The last 12 months have been very difficult for families in our region,” CMHA CEO Gregory Johnson said in the release. “We’re thrilled to have these vouchers that will increase our ability to help.”

CMHA is working with Strategies to End Homelessness, the nonprofit that distributes federal funding for homeless service providers, to refer single people and families for the new vouchers.

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CMHA CEO Gregory Johnson

“In 2020, we had 6,151 people who slept in a shelter or on the street in Hamilton County,” Kevin Finn, CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness, said in the release. “So there’s no question we can use these vouchers.”

On any given night, Finn said, about 60 families and another 600 individuals sleep in local homeless shelters.

CMHA’s housing choice voucher program, formerly known as Section 8, partners with private landlords across Hamilton County. People who get vouchers pay 30% of their adjusted gross income for rent, and the government program pays the rest. For those who have no income, CMHA pays the full rental amount.

The new emergency vouchers are for:

· Residents of emergency shelters or people living on the street;

· People at risk of entering a shelter or being on the street;

· Those fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking;

· And people who recently lived on the street or in a shelter and have a high risk of losing their housing.

People who use the vouchers can continue to receive case management services related to employment, mental health and addiction, Finn said, which can help ensure people stay in their housing long-term.

The biggest challenge could be recruiting more landlords to be part of the program, the release stated.

“We have about 3,000 landlords in Hamilton County who participate in our program, but we’re always recruiting more so our voucher holders have more choice,” Lisa Isham, director of CMHA’s Housing Choice Voucher Program, said in the release.

Landlords who want more information can call Miranda Taylor, CMHA’s landlord outreach coordinator, at (513) 977-5800 or email her at Miranda.Taylor@cintimha.com.