SIKESTON - The Scott County and Sikeston housing authorities are waiting to hear from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on a request to merge and reduce the number of Section 8 vouchers.
"We're waiting for approval from HUD central," said Bobby K. Henry, executive director of the Sikeston Housing Authority.
In documents submitted July 15, local authorities officially requested "the merger and a 10 percent reduction in the allocation," according to Henry. "It's been approved by the St. Louis HUD office and is in Washington now waiting their approval."
Local officials had originally sought a 25-percent reduction in the number of Section 8 vouchers but were told by HUD officials that a 10-percent reduction was more appropriate. "That's all that they would approve," Henry said. "We will keep reviewing the program and if the waiting list continues to drop as it has over the last few years we will look at requesting further reductions."
Henry said he does not know when local officials can expect to hear back with a decision from HUD on the merger and voucher reduction request.
The housing choice voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly and the disabled to afford housing in the private market. The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and where the owner agrees to rent under the program. A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the Housing Authority on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program.