Committee Recommends Public Hearing On Oswego’s Housing Choice Voucher Program

OSWEGO, NY – At its meeting Monday night, the Planning and Development Committee approved setting  a public hearing for the city of Oswego’s Housing Choice Voucher Program: Five Year Plan for 2015 to 2020.

Mary Vanouse, community development director, made the request.

The Community Development Office is responsible for the administration of the Housing Choice Voucher Program and is the Housing Agency authorized through the Common Council, in its role as Community Housing Assistance Development Agency.

In accordance with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations, the city of Oswego is required to hold a public hearing concerning the adoption of the Housing Choice Voucher Program Five Year Plan, Vanouse said.

She requested the public hearing be set for 7:10 p.m. on Nov. 24 in the Council Chambers.

The Housing Choice Voucher Program Five Year Plan is available for public review and comment at the Community Development Office, 20 W. Oneida St., third floor, from Nov. 3 to 24.

The document may be viewed in the office during the city’s regular business hours – Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The council and all interested citizens are invited to review the plan and make comments at the public hearing or in writing about the contents of the plan, Vanouse added.

“I am also requesting that after the public hearing, that the plan be considered for adoption by resolution of the city of Oswego Common Council acting in its role as Community Housing Assistance Development Agency for the city Housing Choice Voucher Program,” she said.

“We have had some meetings to get a better understanding of the voucher program and the 456 vouchers, I believe, that we currently have. A reduction in the number of vouchers is actually, at least from my personal perspective, would create a hardship on many elderly and disabled, which by far are the largest users of that program,” Council President Ron Kaplewicz pointed out.

The Community Development Office has done an excellent job in administering the program “and they certainly have a lot to be proud of,” he added.

“It really is market based housing, but we supplement the rents for certain individuals and it includes a level of inspection and responsibility on the land owners’ part to make sure that the housing is up to par according to the standards,” he said. “I think that there is a lot of misunderstanding or misinformation that comes down regarding the HUD program … and a lot of misrepresentation about what’s going on. I think there is a lot of ‘storytelling’ on the street with respect to the program and how it impacts this community. It’s important for everyone to understand what the facts are.”

The request will be considered by the full council next week.