POINSETT COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The Region 8 newsroom received several phone calls from residents of the Poinsett County Housing Authority upset about rising rent bills.
But, after a public meeting, many realized it was a misunderstanding fueled by social media.
The purpose of Thursday night's meeting was to discuss some HUD mandated policy changes.
But the topic quickly switched to rent.
Interim Director David Lange said the Poinsett County Housing Authority sent out 270 letters to residents explaining policy changes that would ban smoking in the units and affect some people's rent.
However, many people misunderstood, thinking the rent hike was to help pay off housing authority debt, which Lange said is just not true.
Lange said there are a few HUD mandated policies that Poinsett County has yet to implement, one of those being a rent increase for flat rate residents only.
And Lange said the flat rate rent increase only impacts about 40 people.
"We ask those residents to come in and talk to us and we'll make sure that they're paying the lowest possible amount of rent. Most people will not be affected by any changes," Lange said. "Social media goes a little bit crazy at times and as I told them tonight, I'm not the two-headed monster that they're hearing about, we're here to help them and make nicer units."
The flat rate rent adjustment and the smoking ban were mandated by HUD last year.
And the deadline for all housing authorities to enact these policies approach this year.
As far as the housing authority's debt from the previous administration, Lange said they haven't come up with a plan to start paying it back yet.
They'll address that issue in the future.