COVINGTON, Ky. — A conversation with a friend seven years ago turned into a new lifestyle for Larry Griesinger. At the time, his friend owned 32 properties and recommended Larry buy some as well.
He now owns 12 properties in the vicinity of Covington, Latonia and Taylor Mill, and he plans to convert them all into Section 8 housing.
The reasons are simple, he said: “The guaranteed rent money, not having to chase the money each month, and instead of me going out and finding people, Section 8 has a list of families that are in need of housing. So once you put your house on the market, they find the people for you.”
He's seen the need for Section 8 properties first-hand in Covington, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are more families in need than there are landlords because the landlords somehow are reluctant to do the program,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that I know — tenants as well — who lost their job and are in need of the Section 8 housing.”
The city of Covington is looking for more landlords like him who are willing to sign leases under the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
As an incentive, the city is offering an additional payment of $500 per tenant to landlords who choose to join the program in Kenton County.
“We have a lot of families who are unable to find landlords who are willing to participate in the Section 8 program,” said Housing Choice Voucher Program coordinator Kim Phillips. “We have a lot of families whose names reach the top of the waiting list but they’re unable to use their voucher.”
This initiative will not only help landlords receive this bonus, it will also make affordable housing more readily available in the city. Phillips said she believes it is needed now more than ever.
“A lot of our participants have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “We have a lot of families who work in the service industry, so we thought we could offer a little assistance to them.”
The program started June 1 and is possible thanks to funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. There is no end date on their timeline.
“We have some landlords who may have never used the program before, and this might be a good incentive for them to give it a try,” she said.
Phillips believes the initiative will also change the perception of the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which she said some landlords avoid because of the amount of paperwork and steps involved.
“Sometimes they have a misperception about the families in our program, too,” she said. “We have a lot of elderly participants, we have veterans, we have single parents, we have students — so there’s a wide range of families out there who just need a little bit of assistance, and that’s what this program does."
If you are interested in participating in the program, you can call 859-292-2188 or click here.