The Rockingham Housing Authority had a busy year during 2012, as evidenced in the RHA 2012 Annual Report.
The report shows the Housing Authority experienced a 30 percent increase in the number of applications received last year: 259 Public Housing and 110 Housing Choice Voucher applications.
While applications increased, the number of vacancies decreased, the report shows.
Housing Authority Executive Director Chereka Belton-Odom presented details of the annual report to the Rockingham City Council recently.
The RHA provides housing assistance under two programs: Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher. Both programs provided families the opportunity to achieve economic sustainability.
Currently, the authority provides 225 Public Housing Units and 62 Housing Choice Vouchers to low and moderate income residents in the community.
Of the many applications submitted for housing last year, the authority was only able to house 54 Public Housing clients and 17 Housing Choice Voucher participants, according to the report.
In 2012, the report shows that 72 percent of the families on the RHA waiting list were below “extremely low income limits.”
Currently, the authority houses 471 individuals in its Public Housing Program, which consists of 212 families. RHA also assists 108 individuals — 50 families — under its Housing Choice Voucher Program.
According to the report, the average yearly income for RHA clients is $8,336.
In all of 2012, RHA spent about $216,000 on major repair, site work and unit restoration.
The report shows of those in public housing in Rockingham, 45 percent are age 18-59, 44 percent are age 17 and younger, and 11 percent are 60 and older.
Financial information shows revenue in 2012 of $971,228 in HUD operating grants, $344,927 in rental income, and $19,953 in “other” revenue, for a total of $1,336,108, the report said.
The report shows total assets of more than $3.6 million.
“Our funding has decreased though we are housing more and more families with little to no income,” Belton-Odom wrote in the report.
Budget cuts at the federal level do impact public housing authorities, noted Belton-Odom to the City Council, “but we have strong reserves which will help us to move forward.”
Belton-Odom struck a positive tone in the report, writing, “With tighter budget constraints ahead of us, the Rockingham Housing Authority continues to strive not to be viewed as the housing of last result, but a place where opportunities are given to create new beginnings.”
In 2012, RHA collaborated with other organizations and community resources to assist its clients. Due to the success of these efforts, in December 2012 the RHA received HUD approval to implement a Family Self Sufficiency Program, said Belton-Odom.
“This voluntary program is designed to assist clients with becoming self sufficient and financially free from government monetary assistance through education, employment training, gaining new employment and/or employment advancement,” she said.
The Rockingham Housing Authority was founded in 1961. The authority is governed by a five-member board appointed by the mayor of Rockingham. Board of Commissioners are Cohen Cox, Joe Mendola, Sandra Smith, Leonard Covington, and Keith Ellerbe.
For more information about the RHA, call 910-997-331, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website www.rhanc.com.
— Editor John Charles Robbins can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 13, or by email at email@example.com.