Having a job could make it easier to get housing aid in Westminster

September 24, 1996|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Some low-income Westminster residents at the end of the line for federal housing subsidies could move up, while others near the front could be pushed back.

Westminster officials want to toughen rules for housing assistance. The City Council approved a proposal last night that would give priority to those who have jobs or are in job training programs.

Social welfare workers contend that the proposal would further erode aid to the vulnerable, including the homeless and battered women.

The change means Westminster will stop giving preference for housing assistance to people who live in substandard housing, are homeless, have been evicted or have left their homes because of physical violence, or who pay more than half of their monthly income for rent and utilities. Instead, preference would go to people who have jobs, are in job training, or who are elderly or disabled, which is required under federal policy.

"One of the benefits of the proposed new preferences is that it much more strongly encourages working families and encourages job training. That's what we like about it," said Karen K. Blandford, Westminster's supervisor of housing, community development and personnel.

Blandford said she doesn't plan to implement the new priorities adopted by the council until she gets word from federal authorities on whether Congress will continue that option for local governments.

Westminster's initiative stems from changes in federal housing policy that allow local governments to determine who should receive benefits.

Blandford said she will recommend that the council delay action on the proposal until it is known whether Congress will make any changes in the housing policy.

Pub Date: 9/24/96

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