AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – We’re finding out more about the section 8 housing vouchers that Augusta’s Housing Authority leaders plan to distribute to people living in Dogwood Terrace if that demolition and redevelopment application is approved. NewsChannel 6 spoke with the Deputy Executive Director of the housing authority.
The Augusta Housing Authority is still preparing the demolition and redevelopment application for Dogwood Terrace. If approved, some residents may choose to relocate with a section 8 voucher.
“HUD sets the amount of the what’s called the fair market rent for the Augusta area and then the housing authority will choose to set the payment standards the voucher payment standard between 90 and 110 percent of that fair market rent,” said Douglas Freeman, the deputy executive director.
Freeman says the fair market rent changes and there’s no telling what the dollar amount will be on those vouchers this time around. He also says the housing authority vouchers are generally at that 110 percent level.
He says, “In the 30907 area code, because the cost of housing is even higher in that area we got approved to increase that payment standard to 120 percent of the fair market rents in order to give families the ability to move out there and give them the ability to afford the rents out there.”
But some city leaders are concerned.
Augusta Commissioner Jordan Johnson says, “I have gotten calls over the past few months from folks that have gotten vouchers but they’re still not able to find section 8 housing. That is a problem for me.”
Commissioner Johnson says if there’s already a shortage of section 8 vouchers, the demolition and redevelopment of Dogwood Terrace could leave some families homeless.
“If they get the voucher but they’re not able to find a property, what happens to that person would they be able to live in the facility that’s going to replace Dogwood Terrace if it’s official that they’re going to replace it. Will they have options to go somewhere else. Those are questions that we don’t have answers to because this conversation has not been held on a large scale,” he said.
Freeman has already promised that the housing authority will not let that happen, but Johnson says there is a long waitlist for housing vouchers now.
“I believe the waitlist has gotten to about over three thousand people. If that’s the case what happens to the people that are on the waiting list? Do they get jumped over? I mean what are we doing,” he asked.
Johnson suggests that housing authority leaders and city leaders get together to discuss a better plan.