Housing authority projects benefit whole community

Board members and employees of the Housing Authority of Jackson County are residents of this community. Because we live here, we create buildings that are attractive. We build to blend into the community, and we build for the long term.

Board members of the Housing Authority of Jackson County are appointed by our county commissioners. We take our volunteer board positions very seriously.

On our board are an attorney, a builder, a retired banker, a retired realtor, a computer expert and a social service professional. Though empty now, there is a spot for a housing tenant. We are a very diverse group of residents of the county.

Our mission statement is: "To provide, develop and preserve decent, safe and affordable housing to families and individuals while promoting efforts toward self-sufficiency."

Each project undertaken by the Housing Authority is reviewed by the board both for viability within our community and to see if it meets our mission. All aspects of each project are completely and carefully studied before being presented to our board.

Our board meetings are open to the public. Our meeting dates and times are published in the newspaper before the meetings and can be found by calling the Housing Authority office. Regular meetings are held the third Wednesday of each month at noon in the Housing Authority meeting room on Table Rock Road.

We are proud of our work and encourage the public to take tours of our housing projects. Just a simple call to the Housing Authority and a tour will be scheduled.

We take on two types of projects. Sometimes we purchase existing apartments and renovate them, such as the recently renovated Grand Hotel in downtown Medford. More frequently, we construct new apartment complexes.

Our methods of new construction are of high quality. Since we build with the intention of keeping the buildings for at least 50 years, we invest in materials that will provide low maintenance and long-term sustainability. For example, the fiber-cement siding that we use can last 40 years or more. This is how we save money for the long run.

We take this kind of care with our projects because we are using tax dollars from state and federal sources to offset the cost of construction. We want to make the best use of these limited financial resources. In the past five years, we have brought into Jackson County more than $36 million for real estate acquisition and construction activity. During these difficult economic times, our projects create more than 200 construction jobs each year.

The staff members who screen tenants are obligated to use thorough tenant selection criteria to fulfill the requirements of federal regulations and private investor obligations.

Our apartments are carefully managed. Routine and regular inspections by on-site management ensure our properties and grounds are properly maintained to promote curb-side appeal. The landscaping is carefully designed to be aesthetically pleasing and yet easy to maintain.

As our mission statement says, we work with the tenants and encourage them to become self-sufficient. Our tenants are hard-working people struggling to make ends meet and to improve their economic situation. We take pride in our programs to help people leave the need for public assistance.

We also take pride in the quality, durability and compatibility of our projects. Come see — give us a call at 541-779-5785, ext.1014, and ask Brenda to schedule a tour.

John Statler is a Housing Authority of Jackson County board member. This opinion also is signed by board members Joan Middendorff, Terry Buntin, Darrel R. Jarvis and Ken Williams.

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