LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Another boom for the local economy could come from new, affordable housing.
Thursday the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs awarded a nearly 3 million dollar grant to build hundreds of homes for low-income families and senior citizens.
"It would add to the community as far as the availability of housing so people can find a nice place to live," said Lufkin Deputy City Manager Keith Wright.
"Our major employers are rehiring people. We've got new folks looking at our community. So these workers need places to live," said Lufkin Mayor Jack Gorden.
Three future projects, one in Lufkin, two in Hudson, will not only drive people into East Texas but also help struggling families with tight budgets.
"The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs actually subsidizes some of the construction money so therefore the rents are actually less than what the market rate might be otherwise," explained Gorden.
Gorden says projects will also cater to older folks.
"This one is going to be senior housing and of course we have a big need for that too as our population ages," said Gorden. "There's been like a four year waiting list for this type of housing so the units and the properties themselves have just not been available."
The developments will create a need for several construction jobs.
It's a chance to strengthen the local economy and provide safe and cost-friendly homes for the community.
Once the developers decide to move forward with the grant, city officials say construction can begin.
For more information on the projects, see the press release below:
AUSTIN, TX (Press release) - Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) and State Senator Robert Nichols today announced that it will providing financing to three high quality Lufkin area rental properties offering reduced rents yet with an attractive design to blend seamlessly within the community.
TDHCA will provide $2.8 million in housing tax credits to private developers constructing properties that will feature rents affordable to tenants earning no more than 60 percent of the area median family income. For Lufkin and surrounding communities, this equals an annual income of $29,640 for a family of four.
Once completed, these safe, decent rental units will help stabilize the lives of low income tenants and the neighborhoods in which they live, while providing a significant boost to the regional economy.
"Despite signs of a rebound in the nation's economy, far too many of my constituents continue to struggle in meeting their monthly rent obligations or face living in substandard housing," said Senator Nichols in making the announcement. "When a household must set aside almost half of its income toward paying the rent, many of the family's other needs simply may not be met. I welcome this award of housing tax credits and encourage TDHCA to continue its commitment to high quality, affordable housing for all Texans."
"The Housing Tax Credit Program is the state's most productive resource for developing affordable rental housing," said TDHCA Executive Director Michael Gerber. "We are confident that this award will have a dramatic and positive impact on low income residents of the Lufkin area, particularly young families just starting out in life or older Texans living on fixed incomes. The added bonus will be the creation of numerous construction jobs, as well as taxes and fees that help provide essential public services at the local level."
The following developments received an allocation of housing tax credits from TDHCA:
These properties will help meet a growing demand for quality, affordable housing throughout the area. The Department estimates that approximately 62,016 households in the 15-county
Southeast Texas region that includes Lufkin experience an extreme housing cost burden, leaving fewer finances for other necessities.
The awards were part of 55 TDHCA made through the 2010 Housing Tax Credit Program allocation, the state's primary means of directing private capital toward the creation or retention of affordable rental housing. The tax credits provide private investors with a benefit used to offset a portion of their federal tax liability in exchange for the production of affordable rental housing.
Properties funded though tax credits must reserve a specific number of units for income eligible tenants and cap rents at set levels to ensure affordability. TDHCA provides oversight authority for health, safety, and program compliance for up to 30 years to make certain developers maintain the program's high standards.
In addition, the entire region will benefit from the significant economic stimulus of these awards. According to a study by the National Association of Home Builders, the one-year impact of a typical 100-unit property developed through housing tax credits includes 56 full-time construction jobs, $5.4 million in total wages and salaries, and $862,800 in taxes and other revenue to state and local governments.
TDHCA estimates the 2010 credit allocation of approximately $68 million will help create or retain as many as 5,560 affordable rental units statewide.
For more information about the Housing Tax Credit Program in general, or the 2010 allocation cycle in particular, please visit the program online at www.tdhca.state.tx.us/multifamily/htc/index.htm.
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is the state agency responsible for affordable housing, community services, energy assistance, and colonia housing programs. The Department currently administers more than $2 billion through for-profit, nonprofit, and local government partnerships to deliver local housing and community-based opportunities and assistance to Texans in need.