FD gets $240K for housing

Dozens of low income families may be able to get help with paying rent, apartment security deposits and utility deposits as a result of a $241,670 grant awarded to the Fort Dodge Housing Agency.

The funding is federal money channeled through the Iowa Finance Authority and is exempt from the budget cuts called sequestration, according to Barb Michaels, the executive director of the Housing Agency.

Michaels said Wednesday that the agency is already losing about $13,000 a month to sequestration, so the newly awarded grant will boost its efforts to help low income people.

”Obviously, our goal is to help the most low income people get safe, permanent housing,” she said.

Some of the money will be used to help people pay rent. Michaels said the rental assistance could be for a few months or an entire year, depending on the individual’s needs. She added that the assistance could pay the full monthly rent amount or a portion of it.

She estimated that the agency would be able to provide rental assistance to about 60 clients with the grant.

She said an additional 52 clients could receive help with paying security and utility deposits for apartments.

Paying those deposits, she said, is ”one of the biggest barriers that our clients have in getting permanent housing.”

The grant-funded program will start July 1.

The award was announced Wednesday, and Michaels said she hasn’t received the grant contract yet.

People seeking the kinds of help made possible by the grant will have to file an application with the Housing Agency. Michaels said the agency isn’t accepting applications yet.