Questions arise with Stark Metro Housing Authority buying house, hiring woman

Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority purchased this house on 41st Street NW last summer.

CANTON  Britnee Allen’s rental house and new job at the Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority are glowing examples of an agency success story — or the fruits of favoritism from the top.

On one hand: Using her government-funded Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8), the unemployed single mom moved her family from Orrville into the Plain Local School District and a house on 41st Street NW the Housing Authority had recently purchased.

Then in short order, Allen landed a newly-added Housing Authority position that pays almost $40,000 a year — which enabled her to abandon her housing subsidy and pay $800 monthly rent herself.

“She’s self-sufficient now; that’s part of our mission,” said Herman Hill, Housing Authority executive director.

“A hand-up, not handout,” Allen echoed.

That’s all feel-good stuff.

But on the other hand: Hill knew Allen personally. Their now seventh-grade sons, both currently living in the Plain school system, played together on an Ohio Phenom Academy travel basketball team in 2017, and have played against each other since. And that house Allen leases on 41st Street was the only one purchased last year by the Housing Authority.