Housing agency hits ground running for new year

Published 7:42 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2018

It is all about growth for the Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency when discussing the new year.

Board of Commissioners with the agency met Tuesday morning for their first meeting of the new year with a relatively light agenda, voting to extend their support for resident-service programs throughout the agency.

While the first meeting of the new year may have been cut-and-dry, Executive Director Kelly Geagley said the new year is all about growth.

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“We met today to pass a resolution to extend the continued support for programs today,” Geagley said following the meeting. “That’s one of the biggest things we want to offer to our residents. We’re preparing for our annual Valentine’s Day party and we’ve got others planned throughout the year.”

EHDA has found success by partnering with different organizations over the course of the years. From the Ghost Riders to Witten Huddle, Geagley added there are opportunities available for any business or organization looking to partner with the agency on a specific event.

But for the new year so far, the executive director said the biggest item has been spreading awareness about the recent smoking policy that was put into effect at the start of the year.

Since Jan. 1 of this year, residents at EHDA can still smoke, but 25 feet away from agency properties, including homes, administrative buildings, playgrounds or walking trails.

The policy falls in line with recent requirements put in place by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“The biggest thing for 2018 so far has been the implementation of the non-smoking policy,” Geagley said. “We’ve been trying to inform our residents that they don’t have to quit smoking, we hope they do of course, but what we’re saying is there are boundaries in place now set by (HUD). Our choice was to either make it smoke free or to where you couldn’t smoke 25 feet from property.”

EHDA will also be working alongside the City of Elizabethton Planning Office this year for tax-increment financing (TIF) development.

“Mr. (Jon) Hartman with the City planning office is working together with us on that,” he said. “Our board will be involved with that. Once its implemented, we’ll be heavily involved with that.”