Addressing the rural affordable housing issue in Vernon County

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NEVADA, Mo. (KODE) – Affordable housing can be hard for some to find not just in rural Missouri, but around the country.

Carol Branham, Executive Director of the Nevada Housing Authority, says they have been addressing the need for additional housing for years.

That’s because in rural areas, affordable housing programs have had a hard time finding safe, decent, affordable housing that meets inspection criteria.

“It’s a nation wide issue, it’s not, but particularly for small rural areas, housing has become a challenge for some of our affordable housing programs in finding safe, decent, affordable housing, that meets the inspection criteria for our programs,” says Branham.

Some of these criteria that landlords need to follow fall under Section Eight of the housing quality standards.

They include notifying of rent increase, passing quality standards, and properly collecting security deposits and monthly rent.

Branham says many area properties have changed ownership and are unaware of the criteria, thus causing challenges.

“If landlords are not engaged and not willing to bring those houses up to that inspection standard, then that’s where the challenge is. Once we can engage the landlords and make them understand the value of the program, and the support we have working in partnership with that public private partnership then it’s a win-win,” says Branham.

Once they are engaged, future residents may experience easier transitioning than resident Dianna Phelps did after her mother passed away.

“Very unaware of what I was gonna go on, what I was gonna do. As far as money wise being able to afford an apartment on my own and stuff, it was very scary,” says Phelps.

Phelps adds others don’t need to be scared about not knowing where to live.

“I would tell them to stay positive and take it one day at a time,” she says.

Branham says addressing the issue is the first step, but she adds it won’t be taken care of over night – It could take years.

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