Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Spencer Officials Concerned About Housing Fairness For Those In Need

The Spencer Aldermen will look into concerns that Van Buren County residents are not being treated fairly by the Sparta Housing Authority.

Van Buren Schools Homeless System Navigator Jill Bouldin said she remains concerned by the lack of Van Buren County representation on the Sparta Housing Authority board. Bouldin said Van Buren residents are overlooked by the authority for vacant spots in Spencer.

“When I sit and watch an apartment empty, and I had families that I was calling about and I had them calling and we was being told there’s nothing available, and then my counterpart in White County says, ‘Oh I have a family moving up there into such-and-such apartment,'” Bouldin said. “I was like, ‘Huh. You know, they’re telling me its empty, but they’re bringing White County people.'”

Spencer Mayor Alisa Farmer said she knows people on the housing authority’s board and will look into the matter. Alderman David Chandler said the housing authority has been prioritizing White County citizens over Van Buren County citizens for years.

“This has been going on for years,” Chandler said. “It’s been bad for years. It’s like an uphill battle.”

“It may take myself and maybe Mayor Sullivan to attend one of these board meetings, because I know they have to have board meetings in order to operate, and see if priority cannot be given to Van Buren County residents,” Farmer said.

Bouldin told the board some 154 of the 762 students in the county are either homeless or live in substandard housing.

Bouldin said one possible solution would be to take inspiration from Warren and Davidson counties and work to set up tiny houses in the area that could be leased out to families for 6 months so they can get back on their feet.

“We’ve got to have something,” Bouldin said. “We’ve got to think outside the box. We’ve got to brainstorm.”