Housing plans to be given to panel

Agency wants to offer rent aid after disasters

Could take effect by week's end

Office also has proposal to encourage working

Westminster

November 10, 2003|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,SUN STAFF

Westminster housing officials are to present to the city's Common Council tonight a proposal to allow people who lose their homes because of fires or other disasters to qualify for rental subsidies.

The city's Office of Housing and Community Development, which administers the federal Section 8 housing assistance program in Westminster, also will present a proposal designed to encourage program participants to work.

Applicants would have to be working or be in a training program to qualify for rental assistance, meaning graduates of job training programs would not be qualified, said Karen K. Blandford, manager of the city's Housing and Community Development Office. The office, however, would make an exemption for graduates with children younger than age 3.

"The purpose is to encourage work in every way we could," Blandford said.

The other proposal would add a third preference to the program's eligibility requirements for applicants in emergency situations. It would allow people displaced by natural disasters or government action that they have no control over, such as code violations by landlords, to qualify for rental subsidies.

The city's Office of Housing and Community Development administers rental vouchers for 289 households, with about 600 more on a waiting list, Blandford said.

To be eligible for Section 8 assistance, applicants must meet federal income requirements, depending on the number of people in a household. Applicants also must either live or work in Westminster. Under the current terms of the program, applicants who are not elderly or disabled must work or be in a job training program, or be graduates of such a program, Blandford said.

The changes, which must be approved by the council, could go into effect by week's end.

In other business, the council is expected to consider the annexation of an 8-acre site on Chase Street north of King Park. The parcel, known as the Arnold property, is also the subject of a proposed zoning change that would clear the way for residential development.

The city's Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended that the council approve the annexation.

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