Chattanooga Housing Authority seeks project-based vouchers

Chattanooga Housing Authority seeks project-based vouchers

July 13th, 2013 by Yolanda Putman in Local Regional News

William Ward speaks Friday about the need for housing for people who age out of foster care.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

What: Housing Choice Voucher project-based program meeting

When: 2 p.m. Thursday

Where: Chattanooga Housing Authority, 801 N. Holtzclaw Ave.

William Ward is trying to care for children who age out of foster care, but he needs more places to house them.

The state stops issuing checks to foster parents when children in their care turn 18, and some foster parents no longer want to care for them.

"They are adults who have aged out of state custody floating house to house," Ward said. "They can't register for school, can't get a job without an address."

Ward, the 64-year-old founder of Pathways Young Adult Program, will be among dozens of developers, program representatives and landlords meeting at the Chattanooga Housing Authority on Thursday to discuss unmet housing needs for special populations, such as those aging out of foster care, homeless families or people coming out of drug rehabilitation programs.

Housing officials say they want to issue at least 50 project-based vouchers for special-needs populations. CHA will issue a Request for Proposals for people seeking the vouchers by Aug. 1. Responses are due Sept. 1.

"I could say we're missing housing for this group and for this group, but I may be wrong," said CHA Executive Director Betsy McCright. "That's why we're trying to invite people in to say, 'Where do we best allocate these resources that we have?'"

The housing authority also wants to attract developers or property owners interested in serving people with low incomes.

Developers who have built homes but haven't been able to sell them could make them available to the project-based voucher program.

It's a great financial incentive for landlords because the subsidy stays with the housing unit for up to 15 years, McCright said.

Ward, a former teacher who has fostered 75 children, wants vouchers to house eight young adults who will age out of the foster care system this year.

He said his Pathways program is the only one in the state that seeks to house young adults who have exited the foster care system. If they don't find housing, some may end up in adult shelters, Ward said.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman @timesfreepress.com or call 423-757-6431.