The Maryville Housing Authority closed its offices for nearly two weeks beginning Thursday after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement sent to The Daily Times via email and then a post on Facebook, MHA Director Nancy Burnette stated leaders were closing the office “in an abundance of caution for our high-risk clients” until Nov. 9.

MHA employees will work from home until then.

She added maintenance personnel will continue to respond to emergency work requests and residents can talk to the leasing staff by calling the office number, 865-983-4958.

Voucher and public housing applications still can be submitted online at mhatn.com.

The organization was going to hold a public hearing Nov. 2 on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Moving to Work (MTW) demonstration program, which “allows (public housing authorities) exemptions from many existing public housing and voucher rules and provides funding flexibility with how they use their federal funds,” according to HUD’s website.

That meeting was rescheduled at 8 a.m. Nov. 9.

MHA owns and manages more than 520 dwellings and serves approximately 350 families, its website states.

About 77% of residents at several locations are elderly, and buildings like Broadway Towers have had limited public access since the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Despite operational hiccups, the organization is still moving to change the way it interacts with residents and those who have Section 8 vouchers.

MTW application documents show MHA wants to tackle limited affordable housing choices in Blount County by increasing low-income housing affordability, creating “incentives” for families to work and increasing housing choices in the county.

These matters will be discussed at the Nov. 9 meeting, when the office plans to be fully operational.

Follow @arjonesreports on Facebook and Twitter for more from city government reporter Andrew Jones.

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