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Rate Increase For Some Who Live In Public Housing

Updated: Friday, May 30 2014, 03:53 PM CDT

A federal mandate will soon increase the cost of rent for some people living in public housing.

About 700 families use public housing in Springfield, but only a handful of those will see a rate increase. The Springfield Housing Authority says it takes no pleasure in passing an increase on to families, but officials say their hands are tied.

"Well I was a homeowner, lost my job at AT&T making $56,000 a year and now I am making $20,000. So I lost the home I was buying so I had to move over here," said Alisa Anderson.

For homeowners like Anderson, public housing is the only thing that kept her family off the street after the economic downturn.

It's meant to help those in struggling situations, but soon the cost of rent will rise for some.

"We must do it because it's a national mandate," said Jackie Newman, Executive Director of the Springfield Housing Authority.

Newman says the increase will only affect flat rate customers. The new federal mandate says flat rates must be equal to at least 80 percent of the fair market rate.

"Housing authorities and our organizations have been concerned and talking to our senators and representatives because of the negative impact it will have on certain metropolitan areas," said Newman.

Newman says of the 700 public housing units in Springfield, 40 residents pay a flat rate.

Her office is still crunching the numbers, but believes the rise in rent won't be too substantial since many already pay close to market value.

In Sangamon County, that rate is $584 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.

"Because we are serving low and moderate income families so any increase is a significant increase," said Newman.

Although a rent increase won't impact Anderson and her family, Anderson is concerned for those who live nearby and will have their flat rate increased.

"The federal government probably shouldn't do that because a lot of people will probably end up being homeless," said Anderson.

Becoming homeless is something the Executive Director at the Springfield Housing Authority says they want to avoid.

Over the next few weeks they will be notifying flat rate customers of their rent increase. There will also be public meetings and representatives available for anyone concerned about making ends meet.

The new rates will be posted by June. The Executive Director of the Springfield Housing Authority says clients will start paying the new rates  based on the date they moved in.

Rate Increase For Some Who Live In Public Housing

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