Sunday, June 14, 2009

When MDHA Terminates Section 8 Housing Assistance

Salemtown has several Section 8 residences. Those are residences designed for low income folk who otherwise could not afford rent or mortgage. Section 8 residents receive Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) from the federal government through the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency. Sometimes MDHA owns buildings where Section 8 residents live. Sometimes they contract with private landlords to house HAP recipients.

In some cases (not in all) Section 8 residents in Salemtown have been suspected of selling drugs. Typically the suspected houses have a high volume of car traffic coming and going at any time of the day or night, but staying only a few minutes. In some cases the cars have license plates from other counties. In every case of a suspected Section 8 drug dealer that I can remember, teenage gang activity has also been present. MDHA says that they will not respond to reports of drug sales unless police make an arrest.

But there are other times where MDHA says they will terminate HAP contracts that have nothing to do with crime. In August 2005, the MDHA board of commissioners approved the following conditions for HAP termination:
  1. Families who have been on the Housing Choice Voucher program for 10 years or more.
  2. Families that have been on full HAP assistance for 18 or more months.
  3. Families receiving HAP assistance in excess of $5,400 annually.
It would appear that Section 8 residents are not allowed to stay indefinitely in Section 8 housing, although they could stay up to 10 years. So, getting drug dealers out sooner is going to require help from law enforcement.

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