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Ben Carson - 2016

Olmsted County is gaining 27 federal housing vouchers for people with disabilities.

The vouchers, which provide access to up to $136,728 in combined rent support for a year, were part of a statewide announcement Thursday.

“We’ll be able to house an additional 27 families once that gets finalized early next year,” Olmsted County Housing Director Dave Dunn said, crediting work of housing staff in applying for the added support.

Olmsted County already has approximately 550 vouchers in use through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program commonly known as Section 8.

The new vouchers are part of $5.3 million in federal support to help 591 Minnesotans with disabilities secure and retain housing.

On a federal level, HUD awarded a combined $131.3 million to help 325 public housing authorities on Thursday.

“At HUD, we’re committed to ensuring people with disabilities have a decent, safe and affordable place to live,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement announcing the added vouchers. “The funding announced today allows our local partners to continue helping residents with disabilities live independently.”

The housing vouchers offer qualified households the ability to afford rental housing in the private market. Families can find approved housing with participating landlords and pay approximately 30 percent of the household’s annual income for rent. The federal program subsidizes the remaining cost by paying the landlord.

The new vouchers are specifically provided through HUD’s Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program, which provides housing agencies with funding to assist non-elderly persons with disabilities, particularly those who are transitioning out of institutional or other separated settings; at serious risk of institutionalization; currently experiencing homelessness; previously experienced homelessness and currently a client in a permanent supportive housing or rapid rehousing project; or at risk of becoming homeless.

According to HUD, the program helps to further the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act by helping persons with disabilities live in the most integrated setting.

The program also encourages partnerships with health and human service agencies with a demonstrated capacity to coordinate voluntary services and supports to enable individuals to live independently in the community.

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