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New Housing Help For Cuyahoga County Renters With Disabilities

For the first time in at least 14 years, new rental assistance is coming to non-elderly people with disabilities in Cuyahoga County because of an allocation of vouchers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The 150 new housing vouchers, announced Nov. 26, will be distributed and managed by the nonprofit public housing agency EDEN Inc. They'll cover about $450 per month in rent, on average, for non-elderly people with disabilities.

“These resources from HUD mean that an additional 150 households facing homelessness and housing insecurity in our community will secure stable and affordable homes through that process,” said Elaine Gimmel, EDEN's executive director.

The allocation is the largest of any in Ohio, which received a total of 727 vouchers statewide

The federal program, called the Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program, assists non-elderly people with disabilities who are at risk of homelessness. The vouchers can be used to rent housing on the private market, and are meant to lower the total amount owed by tenants to typically no more than 30 percent of the household’s income.

"It allows folks to be more integrated in our neighborhoods, not just keeping them in certain areas but giving them more opportunities to go out to the mainstream, so to speak, and be integrated into the community," said Pamela Ashby, director of HUD's field office in Cleveland.

HUD did not award any new vouchers under the program between 2005 and 2018. No Cuyahoga County organizations received vouchers in 2018, meaning the 2019 vouchers are the first new vouchers received here since at least 2005.

EDEN will begin accepting applications for the vouchers through its website starting Dec. 9, Gimmel said. Interest is expected to be high, with perhaps several thousand applications for the 150 vouchers, Gimmel said, given that about 11 percent of Cuyahoga County residents are considered disabled and the county’s poverty rate is about 18 percent.

Qualifying applicants will be selected via lottery, with the vouchers distributed beginning in early 2020.

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