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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Brazil Housing Authority offers 'more than a place to live'

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Mike Hagemeyer said he wants seniors and the disabled to know that the Brazil Housing Authority offers its residents more than a place to live.

Hagemeyer, Housing Authority Executive Director, said apartments in the three buildings, Meridian, Cooper and Jackson Gardens, are offered on a sliding pay scale with social activities and other features for qualified residents.

The apartments are small, including a kitchen, small bathroom and storage, but Hagemeyer said, "They allow seniors to live wth dignity."

He said the 240 rooms that make up the three buildings are "designed for low-income seniors or low-income persons who are handicapped or disabled."

The minimum age for seniors is 50, but there is no minimum age requirement for the disabled. While the majority of the rooms are one bedroom, two-bedroom units are also offered for families. However, no children are allowed to reside in the apartments because they are not designed for them, he said.

"We're a good place to live as far as location and amenities. We're a good community for seniors," Hagemeyer said.

He said this is the only type of public housing offered in Clay County except for a rural development project working in Clay City.

From an income perspective, most residents earn $11,100 per year or less, but people earning 50 percent of that, or closer to $18,000 per year, still qualify. "You don't have to be destitute to live here," he said.

Residents can begin living at the apartments while holding onto their savings, stocks and bonds, a luxury seniors don't have when moving into nursing homes, Hagemeyer said.

Monthly fees for residents vary based on their incomes. Residents are required to pay 30 percent of their total income and assets. However, any bills that cost them more than three percent of their income, such as medicine, can be deducted, he said.

Occupants pay no more than $401 per month for one-bedroom units that include rent, electric, water, sewage and even a cable television bill, he said.

The sliding scale fees are possible through a deal worked out with the cable companies to get a low fee and 89 percent subsidies funded by Congress, he said.

Social programs and a monthly newsletter are also available.

"Our residents have an opportunity to socialize...it's like a built-in community," he said.

Hagemeyer also said, "We try to make sure that they have access to the extended outside world" through computer labs located in each of the buildings.

Since Cooper Towers was constructed in 1973 and then Meridian and Jackson Gardens followed nine years later, he said their occupancy rate has been up and down.

Today's seniors aren't all living on easy street, Hagemeyer said, but "with better financial planning and better health they don't want to give up their homes." Hagemeyer called it, "a change in the times," but said, "There's always going to be a need for public housing."

For more information Michael Hagemeyer can be contacted at 446-2517.

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