The "Electric City"
City of Horton
By Darlene Rake
December 27, 2015
Located at 1701 Euclid in Horton, Kansas, the mission of Horton Housing Authority is to provide decent, safe, sanitary housing for those with low income. The Orchard Heights location is comprised of family units, while Arbor Knoll is housing for the elderly. Rent is income-based for both.
Sitting behind their desks, Connie Shippy and Connie DeWitt both speak with compassion about the residents they help.
"I don't know where they would go without this housing option," Connie Shippy said. "Our apartments play a large role in this community's housing. There are forty-six apartments at Arbor Knoll and seventeen at Orchard Heights, four of which are handicap-accessible (two at each location). We have up to 25 children in the Orchard Heights apartments."
The process for those looking for housing is to fill out an application based on income guidelines. Rent will be thirty percent of gross income, less any medical expenses.
At Arbor Knoll, utilities are included in the rent and residents also have the use of a free laundry room, located in the community building on the premises at 1701 Euclid. They can also come in just to visit, watch television, choose a book from the library, or participate in variety of activities held there.
"We host a monthly carry-in dinner, serving from twenty to thirty-five people. We also have a Friendship Club, hold two bible studies, and there are several groups that meet here," Connie DeWitt said. "We also have churches who come in to visit with people here."
"Living here makes it easier for our elderly residents," added Connie Shippy. "The best part of our job is that we are able to help people find a home, not just a place to live. If they need anything regarding medications, family, insurance...we can help them with it. It's a family here."
Most Arbor Knoll residents don't have computers, so Connie and Connie keep them updated on events, things that are available to them, different scams to be aware of, and they help them contact people they may need to get in touch with.
Arbor Knoll even has a guest house available for rent when residents have family visiting. They recently opened a beauty shop, with Dakota Bond coming in to offer her services at a reduced price.
While utilities are not included in the family units at Orchard Heights, applicants may be eligible for a utility allowance off of the rent to help them out.
Orchard Heights is a great place for people to start in the public sector. I see it as a transitional place that will get them ready to go out on their own to find more permanent housing, " offered Connie Shippy.
As with any business, there are challenges. Connie Shippy cited government subsidies as their biggest challenge. "We are government-subsidized by HUD as the rents we collect don't cover items such as insurance, electricity, and gas. The subsidies are cut all the time and we never know how much funding we'll get."
Beyond their smiles and obvious love for their roles at Horton Housing Authority, both Connie DeWitt and Connie Shippy have the years to prove their dedication. The women have been with the organization 28 years and 27 years respectively. Dale Small, maintenance manager, has been with the organization for 29 years.
"The best part about our community here in Horton has to be the caring people and their friendliness. If there is a need, it's taken care. That allows people to ask for help when they know they won't be looked down upon," Connie Shippy said.
The Horton Housing Authority office can be reached at 785-486-3615.