Housing Authority Rent Rates on the Rise

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- By this fall, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will require public Housing Authorities to charge rents that are competitive with area markets. This means Housing Authority residents in Bowling Green could soon see a significant spike in rent.

"That's really going to be bad. We probably won't have Christmas either," resident Erica Sept said.

Housing and Urban Development, more commonly known as "HUD," will be implementing a new flat rate provision to public housing
authorities throughout the country. The Bowling Green Housing Authority is home to nearly 1,400 residents. This provision will affect nearly 31% them.

"It's going to be very difficult for them and we hope that they won't move out to sub-standard housing," Housing Authority Deputy Director, Nancy Becker says.

The new provision states that the flat rates must be no less than 80% of the fair market rent in Bowling Green. However, by law, there cannot be more than a 35% increase in one year. Even with that, 3 bedroom units are anticipated to increase by $200 and 4 bedrooms by more than $300.

"If our 187 residents would decide, or if half of those would decide to move out to substandard, we could possibly lose $200,000," Becker said.

One of those residents is Erica Sept. Erica has three children and has lived in the Bowling Green Housing Authority for nearly 10 years. Erica says this increase will negatively affect her already tight budget. She says she is looking to cut out certain items to make up the difference.

"We'll probably be over budget, so we're going to have to cut somewhere. It may be food; it's probably going to be the internet and cable, so that could affect their school work and things like that," Sept said.

Housing Authority officals say they have addressed the issue with Congressman Brett Guthrie and are hoping for some adjustments, or an alternate plan.

"A lot of our residents spoke out and they were maybe a husband and wife on social security living here and they won't be able to afford. They're going to have to decide if they want food or prescriptions," Becker said.

Many of the Housing Authority staff plan to visit Washington D.C. at the end of this month to meet with Kentucky's Senators and Representatives.

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