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Sunday, February 25, 2024
Feb. 25, 2024

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Vancouver Housing Authority rent buy-down program to provide subsidy for landlords

Agency seeks properties to expand rentals

By , Columbian sports staff

The Vancouver Housing Authority is launching a rent buy-down program to make more rentals available to low-income households in Clark County.

Through the program announced this week, the VHA will provide a subsidy to participating landlords that reduces the tenant’s portion of rent, making the rent more affordable.

Tenants will receive assistance for a minimum of two years.

Potential program participants will first be drawn from VHA’s existing waitlist. Owners or developers will determine whether tenants are eligible for the program based on the income limits.

Households must have an income at or below 50 percent of the area median income to be eligible.

This homegrown program allows the housing authority to impact more households in the community.

“The purpose is to provide some assistance to households that otherwise would not receive it because VHA is not able to draw many households from our Section 8 waitlist right now,” VHA Executive Director Roy Johnson said in a statement.

The rent buy-down program is a simplified rental subsidy program that allows VHA to “buy down” the cost of rent while still adhering to funding constraints.

It is an opportunity for landlords to help address the area’s affordable housing crisis while receiving guaranteed rent and increased occupancy rates. The rent buy-down program designates a certain number of units within a multifamily property to receive this rental subsidy.

The rent buy-down program is supported with $180,000 annually from VHA’s rental assistance budget funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. VHA anticipates 75 local households will benefit from the rental subsidy.

VHA’s participation in the federal Moving to Work Demonstration Program makes this creative approach possible. It’s one of dozens of public housing authorities nationwide able to design local strategies that use federal funds more efficiently.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this otherwise,” Johnson said.

The VHA is looking for well-maintained multifamily properties and new developments across Clark County to participate in the rent buy-down program.

Interested property owners or developers can go online at vhausa.org/business/bids-rfps or contact Johnson at 360-993-9500 for more information.