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Publish Date: 9/14/2005

County opens 10 housing slots for Katrina victims


BOULDER — As many as 10 displaced Gulf Coast families will be given priority to stay in subsidized housing in Boulder County, following a decision Tuesday by county commissioners.

The decision will allow the county to expand its services for Hurricane Katrina victims who temporarily relocate to the area, Boulder County Housing Authority director Frank Alexander said.

However, limiting to 10 the number of evacuee families who will receive preferential placement in Section 8 low-income housing will ensure that local families living in poverty are also served, he said.

“People want to make sure we weigh the needs of our residents with the needs of people from the disaster area,” Alexander said.

Between 700 and 800 families are on Boulder County’s waiting list for Section 8. Typically, they wait three or four years before a home opens up, Alexander said last week.

Tuesday’s decision, which involved revising BCHA’s admissions policies, came in response to a call last week from U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development officials urging local governments to help shelter hurricane victims, Commissioner Tom Mayer said.

Since HUD administers Section 8 funds, the agency has input on how the money is spent at the local level, he said.

“Aside from the humanitarian reasons, I think it behooves us to work with (the victims),” Mayer said.

Several people have already contacted BCHA recently to inquire about housing for evacuees, Alexander said. Three Gulf Coast families recently moved into Boulder Housing Partners properties, he said.

Some local landlords have also offered to help shelter evacuees, he said.

County officials held a news conference Thursday to announce the creation of a Web site, www.bouldercounty
helps.org, where hurricane evacuees can register for money, food and medical aid from local charities and social services programs.

Brad Turner can be reached at 720-494-5420, or by e-mail at bturner@times-call.com.

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