The Northwest Georgia Housing Authority is seeking to sweeten the pot for potential landlords for Section 8 housing voucher recipients.

The authority has faced a challenge in recruiting landlords for several years and now wants to be able to pay up to 120% of Fair Market Rent in a bid to entice rental property owners to join the program.

“We also have the opportunity to pay the landlords for a couple of months if the unit is vacant,” said Executive Director Sandra Hudson.

Typically, a Section 8 voucher recipient would pay no more than 30% of their household income for rent, with the NWGHA picking up the rest of the monthly tab.

If the authority is approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to pay up to 120% of Fair Market Rent, it could, for example, pay a landlord up to $820 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.

The authority also is considering incentives to landlords who are already participating but may have other local properties that are not currently in the Section 8 program.

“Finding housing has been difficult,” said Housing Director Melvin Scott. “We want to try to sculpture a program that would add more landlords.”

The discussion came during the NWGHA board meeting Wednesday.

The authority also removed a provision in its personnel policy that required employees to retire at age 70. Hudson is 71 and has no desire to step away from her job any time soon.

“Under the Age Discrimination and Employment Act there is no threshold for that. You know somebody in their 80s can file a claim for age discrimination, so there is no mandatory retirement,” authority attorney Stewart Duggan said.

Hudson reported that the Canton Housing Authority has inquired about having the NWGHA manage their properties.

“What that would mean is more revenue coming in, non-federal dollars, for the housing authority,” Hudson said.

Canton is seeking a 9% tax credit grant to rehabilitate most of its approximately 250 public housing units. It needs someone qualified to manage tax credit projects, which the NWGHA is certified to do.

The board also heard that an application for a tax credit grant to finance a complete demolition and rebuild of the John Graham Homes in East Rome scored significantly higher than a year ago.

Hannah Phillips, development coordinator for the NWGHA, is optimistic for its chance of being funded by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs this year.

Phillips also showed off a Certificate of Occupancy for the Bill Collins Village homes on Charlton Street in Summerville Park. The first residents will start moving in this weekend.

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