City staff at the March 2 City Council meeting touted Crescent City Housing Authority (CCHA) receiving awards from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Veterans Affairs Administration.
The awards were the 2020 Housing Choice Voucher Program of the Year and the 2020 Veterans Affairs Support of Housing VASH Program of the Year.
City Manager Eric Wier said these are not Crescent City or Del Norte county awards, rather California awards, recognized over 98 other housing authorities across the state.
“These people, day in and day out handle a huge caseload — there are 584 families that they assist every month, with over 400 on the waiting list," he said. "Over the last year, they had 111 new vouchers. To say they go above and beyond is just a true understatement. There’s a lot of ways they could just punch the clock, but they don’t. They make sure that every family is assisted.”
Program Director Megan Miller told the City Council the CCHA recently received 10 new vouchers through the Housing of Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, allowing 23 veterans to find permanent housing since Crescent City began working with HUD-VASH.
Miller praised the difficult job her staff does while maintaining cohesiveness.
“Everybody is invested equally. Everybody comes to work every day ready to work. They care about their work and they care about the families they’re serving,” she said.
The CCHA has used all 18 vouchers it received in 2017 and applied in for the additional 10 in October 2018. CCHA learned in December of last year it was successful in its application.
Crescent City received $52,512 in HUD-VASH grant dollars in December, as part of $10.5 million granted statewide to 24 communities.
Katie Shinn, a HUD-VASH case manager in Crescent City, told the City Council Monday that the housing authority’s dedication makes her job possible.
“I can honestly tell you about their effort every day to accommodate veterans for orientations quickly. With the shortage of affordable housing, finding landlords willing to accommodate HUD-VASH recipients is difficult,” she added. “We’re in constant contact with them. They can let me know if there’s a problem any day of the week. It’s what keeps the program growing and expanding.”
Crescent City Mayor Blake Inscore said as a veteran himself, he remembers when Crescent City began discussing taking part in the HUD-VASH program, adding he hopes the housing authority will be able to assist 600 families each month.
“The reality of seeing the fact that today we have 23 veterans who used to be homeless who are now home is much bigger than this award,” Inscore said. “That’s what really matters.”