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January Newsletter

Community News - Vol. 2 Issue 1
Van Buren Housing Authority

Going forward into a brand new year, VBHA Staff would like to ensure that we are in compliance with the lease agreement.

Last year, one of our biggest obstacles was keeping Redeterminations done in a timely manner. Your lease says that you have ten (10) days to report a change in income or family composition. Failure to report accordingly has created a situation where the tenant is being charged "retro" rents. Please make sure you are staying up to date when your circumstances change.

We also processed many payment arrangements. Each tenant will be allowed to make two payment arrangements in 2020. We will not be able to provide in other arrangement for rent or charges other than these.

Failure to respond to request for information is also a violation of your lease agreement. HUD requires us to keep accurate, up-to-date files, which must be signed. Any time you receive a letter from us, it will have a deadline. Please ensure that you are taking care of your obligations and if you will be unable to make it to the office before the deadline, give us a call and we might extend it for you.

We also need you to stay on top of repairs needed in your unit. If you see a problem, please call us immediately. You could be charged for allowing a small repair to become a big issue.

HUD allows 14 overnight visits per lease year. If you need to have overnight visitors outside of that 14-day window, you will need to have advance written consent.

Another thing you should remember is that our office lobby has been closed on Fridays for well over a year. We are open Monday-Thursday from 7:30 am - 4:30 pm. We also have a drop box located beside our door you can utilize after hours and on weekends.

If you have any questions about your lease agreement, please make an appointment with the office staff to get clarity.

VBHA January Board Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 28th At 5:30 pm

No Smoking within 25ft of any VBHA property.

Important Days in January 2020
1 - Office Closed New Year's Day
21 - Office Closed Martin Luther King Day
1 - Rent Due
7 - Pest Control Group A
8 - Rent Late ($5 fee)
8 - Pest Control Group B
14 - Final Day to pay Rent ($10 fee)
14 - Pest Control Group C
15 - Annual ReExam Paperwork due
15 - Pest Control Group D

SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder
Feeling sad after the excitement of the holidays is a pretty common thing. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) usually begins in the fall or winter months when you are naturally getting less sunlight. SAD affects about 1% to 2% of the population, particularly women and young people, while a milder form of winter blues may affect as many 10 to 20 percent of people. Women are diagnosed with SAD about four times more often than men.

As with most health and mental health conditions, there are a variety of causes. While experts haven't been able to pinpoint or confirm all contributing factors, they do have several hypotheses about how SAD develops:

  • A disruption in circadian rhythms, which is your internal clock for sleep and waking.
  • Reduced melatonin, which also helps to regulate mood and sleep.
  • Reduced serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that controls mood. Less sunlight can shrink serotonin levels, which might lead to depressed mood.
  • Family history of SAD or depression might be a risk factor.

Three major types of treatments have been found to be effective for SAD:

  • Light therapy aims to provide the light that we miss during the shorter, darker days of winter by providing artificial light every morning.
  • Psychotherapy, specifically Cognitive Behavior Therapy tailored for SAD, aims to shift people's thinking and behavior to combat the symptoms.
  • Antidepressant medications have been shown to reduce symptoms of SAD, and since many people diagnosed with SAD are also found to have low levels of Vitamin D, taking helpful, although the research on this has produced mixed results.

If you feel depressed, fatigued, and irritable the same time each year, and these feelings seem to be seasonal in nature, you may have a form of SAD. Talk openly with your doctor about your feelings. Follow his recommendations for lifestyle changes and treatment.

Common Symptoms of SAD:

  • Depressed Mood or feeling sad
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling fatigued
  • Loss of interest
  • Feeling angry, irritable, stressed, or anxious
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Feeling angry, irritable, anxious
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Restlessness an inability to sleep

The NAMI HelpLine is a free, nationwide peer-support service providing information, resource referrals and support to people living with a mental health conditions, their family members and caregivers, mental health providers and the public. HelpLine staff and volunteers are experienced, well-trained and able to help. To contact the NAMI HelpLine, please call 800-950-NAMI (6264), Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., ET, or send an email to

Caring for Winter Skin
Dry, flaky skin is always a cause for concern during the long, cold winter months. The cold weather usually means decreased humidity, and the windy winter weather and use of heaters will strip the skin of its natural moisture. Dry skin can itch, feel scaly and look ashy. Dry skin is likely to feel chapped or tight, and it may even crack open and bleed. Those who suffer from chronic skin conditions like eczema are much more likely to deal with flare-ups during winter months. The main goal of skin care during winter months is to avoid stripping moisture from the skin and take steps to alleviate dryness.

Use these steps to help care for your skin during the Winter months:

  • Take short warm showers rather than longer showers at higher temps
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air around you.
  • Wear protective gear while outside. You need to protect your skin from wind, snow and rain.
  • Hydrate. Normally, 64 ounces of water daily is the right amount.
  • Keep wearing your sunscreen. Sun exposure still occurs during the winter months.
  • Protect your lips. Look for balms containing Shea, Cocoa Butter, Aloe, and Vitamin E.
  • Moisturize with a thick, heavy balm or coconut oil.

Winter won't last forever, when it ends your skin will be summer-ready!

Winter Workouts *Always consult your physician before starting any exercise routine.
A good work out in the winter can decrease the effects of boredom, restlessness, depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder that affect millions. Research shows that exercise can improve your overall mood by releasing serotonin and dopamine, which are known to make you "feel good". In addition, research further shows that regular exercise strengthens your immune system so it can fight off bacterial and viral infections, which can be very important when cold and flu season approaches.

SilverSneakers helps the 65+ crowd stay fit by providing access to gym memberships, weight training, aerobics, and group exercise classes. Many Medicare Advantage plans cover SilverSneakers.

Tips To Stay Motivated in the Winter:
1. Keep yourself warm.
2. Know what time of the day works best for you.
3. Recruit a workout buddy.
4. Think of how you'll feel when you're done.
5. Do your workouts at home.
6. Turn your errands into your workout.

Spiced Hot Chocolate
4 cups milk
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa
pinch of cayenne
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. chipotle powder or chili powder
Mix together and warm on Medium heat to desired temperature

"Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals."

Who was Martin Luther King, Jr.?
Martin Luther King, Jr. was a civil rights activist in the 1950s and 1960s. He led non-violent protests to fight for the rights of all people including African Americans. He hoped that America and the world could become a colorblind society where race would not impact a person's civil rights. He is considered one of the great orators of modern times, and his speeches still inspire many to this day.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, GA on January 15, 1929. He went to Booker T. Washington High School. He was so smart that he skipped two grades in high school. He started his college education at Morehouse College at the young age of fifteen. After getting his degree in sociology from Morehouse, Martin got a divinity degree from Crozer Seminary and then got his doctor's degree in theology from Boston University.

In his first major civil rights action, Martin Luther King, Jr. led the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This started when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. She was arrested and spent the night in jail. As a result, Martin helped to organize a boycott of the public transportation system in Montgomery. The boycott lasted for over a year. It was very tense at times. Martin was arrested and his house was bombed. In the end, however, Martin prevailed and segregation on the Montgomery buses came to an end.

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear - MLK Jr Let no man pull you low enough to hate him - MLK Jr. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only LIGHT can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only LOVE can do that. - MLK Jr.