SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A budget report presented this week to Sioux Falls’ housing authority said much of the federal assistance aimed at helping low-income families pay rent isn’t being used.
Sioux Falls Housing and Redevelopment Commission executive director Shireen Ranshau told the Argus Leader (http://argusne.ws/2dcR1v1) that delays in federal budget-setting is contributing to an abundance of unused Section 8 housing vouchers.
According to Ranshau, the department goes unaware for months of how much funding they will receive. The vouchers, which are the biggest part of funding for the Sioux Falls housing authority, depend entirely on money from the federal government.
Funding amounts vary depending on the family, however a housing voucher can help a family pay hundreds of dollars on monthly bills.
Each month the group can give 1,870 vouchers to low-income residents, who can’t afford rent. Last month 170 vouchers were unused.
“We’ve been really contacting a lot of people, trying to use up the funding that we have,” Ranshau said.
She said her department is shuffling paperwork and working with applicants to sift through the backlog.
“We’re struggling,” Ranshau said. “We’ve been working at contacting people every two weeks. Doing the processing to make sure they’re eligible.”
The large waitlist for Section 8 housing vouchers in Sioux Falls has been immobile for years. When Sioux Falls resident Ayana Davis joined the list in 2011, she was behind thousands of others who needed government assistance to pay for shelter. Since 2010, the waitlist has fluctuated, but has never dropped below 3,200 people.
“When you have four children and you raise them alone, the window closes really quickly,” Davis said.
Sioux Falls housing officials trimmed the waitlist by about 700 last month.
Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com