Housing authorities have been around for a long time here in the US and they have been crucial in helping to provide affordable housing for hundreds off thousands of low paid men and women. Here in St.Louis, Missouri the local housing authority has done outstanding work for those people that earn below the city average. We spoke to executive Martin LaMar and his assistant Tom Grefe who run a housing authority here in St. Louis. We wanted to know what makes a successful housing authority and they were more than happy to talk us through what they believed is important when operating in a metropolitan area such as St.Louis.
Beyond the board of directors and the people who work in the housing authority much of what they do is carried out by volunteers. From helping people to settle in to their homes, aiding people with writing a letter to their housing authority and even down to cutting each blade of grass around the properties, these wonderful men and women are at the heart of everything that is good about a housing authority.
It would be foolish not to mention the importance that having properties to move people in to has on such an operation and despite support from the government, these properties are not always easy to come by. The US government has introduced tax breaks for those property owners that encourage low income occupants and that is something which has helped to kick start more affordable housing being built. If a housing authority is to work to the best of its ability, they must have places where they can put people.
Housing authorities were originally set up by the government and they were ran by mean and women who genuinely cared about ensuring that the city’s inhabitants who were earning less than the city average, could find a nice place to live. The keys therefore to a successful housing authority is not just to have a company which is putting people in properties, but one which actually cares about the welfare and the future of the city’s inhabitants and seeks to help in moving forward with their lives. Unfortunately this is not always the case across the US but in terms of what makes a successful housing authority, passion and care are absolutely vital.
These authorities cannot survive on their own and they need constant support form the government. As Martin said, this support doesn’t need to be a cheque in the mail or encouragement fo donations, but more legislative changes such as the introduction of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which help all parties involved, none more so than the housing authority and the low income residents that will be moving in to the property.
These organizations need our support in order to keep doing the remarkable job that they already are.