Carroll County has applied for and accepted 10 additional federal vouchers that will be used to help county residents with disabilities to secure housing of their choice in the private market.
Celene Steckel, director of Citizen Services for Carroll County, said the county voucher total has grown quite a bit in the last few years. In October 2020, the county accepted 40 new vouchers, funded by federal coronavirus relief funding. Now, the county has 119 vouchers to distribute.
Still, the program has a waiting list of about 25, Steckel said, some of whom will be helped by the latest distribution.
Previously known as Section 8 vouchers and now called mainstream vouchers under the federal Housing Choice Voucher program, this assistance has been set aside specifically for people with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 62.
The program, administered by local public housing agencies and funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is meant to assist very low-income families as well as elderly people and people with disabilities to afford decent, safe and sanitary housing of their choice in the private market.
The program received additional funding from the federal government through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
In addition to the 10 vouchers, Steckel told commissioners that the county had been awarded “extraordinary administrative funding,” to help in the organization of the local program.
Carroll Bureau of Housing Chief Danielle Yates said these vouchers will assist non-elderly people with disabilities who are transitioning out of institutional or other segregated settings, are at serious risk of institutionalization, and who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
“HUD has acknowledged that it is a labor-intensive program because there is a specific [criterion] and many documents we have to retrieve in order to verify the individual qualifies,” she said. “They want to make sure we have appropriate funding to take care of the necessities … so they are giving us additional funding to support that program.”
Yates said Carroll County receives about $6.5 million from the federal government to run the local housing voucher program, which includes housing assistance payments and administrative funding.