TULSA, Lawton agreement could help Tulsa meet Section 8 deadline

Sunday, June 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ The Tulsa Housing Authority could make the deadline for distributing low-income vouchers if it reaches an agreement with the Lawton authority.

Under the proposal, the Lawton Housing Authority would dispense about 300 of the Tulsa Housing Authority's transferred Section 8 vouchers.

The move would help Tulsa meet its quota of Section 8 clients with signed leases.

New guidelines ordered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development require housing authorities to have 90 percent of allocated Section 8 clients signed to binding leases by June 30.

The Tulsa authority has more than 4,000 authorized vouchers and must find more than 500 additional qualified families in order to meet the new requirements.

At stake is millions of dollars in federal rent subsidies and vouchers that would be reallocated to other states if the new quota is not met, officials said.

Section 8 is a federal rent subsidy program designed to prevent low-income, disabled and elderly residents from spending more than half of their income on rent. Applicants are approved for the program through local public housing or Indian housing authorities.

The program is allocated through grant applications through HUD.

The Tulsa authority has distributed more than 3,200 Section 8 vouchers to qualified applicants. It also received 400 additional vouchers for welfare-to-work clients through a grant last summer.

Tulsa's high occupancy rate, Section 8 landlord shortages and a strong economy have put pressure on the Tulsa authority's assisted-housing program to meet the new quota, said La Deanna Anderson, director of assisted housing.

Lawton officials said the Section 8 families who take transferred vouchers will be from Lawton and will live there. However, their vouchers will be Tulsa authority vouchers that will be credited to Tulsa's assisted-housing program.

Rita Love, executive director of Lawton Housing Authority, said it's a way to improve its fledgling Section 8 program.

``Any time we can get federal monies in the state, we should want to hang on to them,'' she said. ``We will be able to get people into homes here who qualify for Section 8.''

The proposed voucher transfer is unprecedented, but within HUD regulations, said Tulsa authority executive director Roy Hancock.

Hancock received approval from his board to pursue the agreement in April.

``It's a case of one housing authority helping out another housing authority,'' he said. ``Of course, they would receive some type of compensation for administering our vouchers.''