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Waiting list to reopen for Lafayette Housing Authority clients

The Lafayette Housing Authority (LHA) plans to take applications for new clients this year. LHA closed its waiting list more than a year ago due to high demand and limited funds to help low-income families secure housing.

Executive Director Al Davis says when they closed the list, there were 1,200 families needing assistance. He says the situation seemed almost hopeless to those seeking help.

“Folks would sign up. We would tell them it would take at least two, if not three, years for them to be assisted,” he recalls.

“So, it’s a standard practice among agencies, as we worked through the individuals who were on that list at the time, we looked to a period of time when we could reopen the list.”

The current waiting list has about 400 families on it. Davis says he has not set a specific date for when the housing authority will begin accepting more clients.

Helping low-income families find a place to live in Tippecanoe County is growing more difficult. The federal government gives the LHA about $6.5 million annually. Davis says the amount available for assistance has held steady the past few years, but the funds available to run the program is shrinking.

He says the formula is based on clients served, but has changed recently so that it hurts the Lafayette office.

“That’s been our challenge,” he says. “Doing the same amount of work – actually more work – having just as many families, and having fewer and fewer funds to do that with, to pay staff.”

Davis says he cut two positions over the past two years, and the current caseload for each housing specialist is approximately 400 families.

He fears the local office will lose the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s “high performer” status if the quality of work suffers from more administrative cuts.