Columbia Housing Authority partnership secures land for affordable housing on Lambeth Drive

Friday, September 14, 2012 | 7:26 p.m. CDT; updated 7:20 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 18, 2012
The Columbia Housing Authority gave the go-ahead for a new affordable housing site near the U.S. 63/Interstate 70 interchange. There will be 47 one- and two-bedroom apartments built under the proposal. The Missouri Housing Development Commission will decide to approve or reject the proposal by Dec. 21.

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Housing Authority has formed a partnership to build 47 apartments for low-income people, some with disabilities. The project targets a little more than four acres between Clark Lane and the south end of Lambeth Drive.

The housing authority and New Horizons Community Support Services Inc. are partnering with ND Consulting Group to create a request for tax credits that would help fund the project. Plans call for 23 apartments with on-site support services for people with mental disabilities.

The Columbia City Council on Monday night will consider a request from the housing authority to endorse the tax-credit application to the Missouri Housing Development Corp., which administers the program.

New Horizons plans to offer its services in conjunction with the housing authority at 23 of the 39 one-bedroom apartments. The housing authority would operate 24 apartments, including eight two-bedroom and 16 one-bedroom apartments, as part of its Affordable Housing Initiative.

The homes would serve individuals and families who earn between 40 percent and 60 percent of the Boone County median family income. For one person, that's between $18,533 and $27,800 yearly, according to a Columbia Housing Authority document. 

Rent, including utilities, would be $468 per month for one-bedroom apartments and $598 per month for two-bedroom apartments, regardless of the number of individuals present, according to the Columbia Housing Authority's report on the project.

Funding would be provided by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development tax credits, which would be sold to investors or bankers. The resulting notes would be paid off through rent and other housing costs by the housing authority and New Horizons over 15 years, Third Ward Councilman Gary Kespohl said.

Kespohl said residents cited a "negative view" of residents with mental disabilities and low-income people during a 4 1/2-hour meeting Thursday, which he and representatives of the Columbia Housing Authority and New Horizons attended.

Future residents of the development would be people and families living semi-independently, but many will need the kinds of services, such as assistance taking medicine, that are offered by New Horizons, Kespohl said. 

"I was pretty surprised when I walked in,"  he said. "All came in with an attitude against it."

Still, residents from the Lambeth Drive neighborhood unanimously approved the development plan with three or four conditions attached. The content of those provisions was not immediately clear. 

On Friday afternoon, Kespohl met with City Attorney Fred Boeckmann, City ManagerMike Matthes, and representatives of New Horizons and the housing authority to draft a document outlining the neighborhood's provisions. Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid will present that document during the Monday council meeting.

ND Consulting Group could provide no specific details about funding for the project on Friday. The tax-credit application should be ready by Sept. 21. The Missouri Housing Development Commission will decide whether to approve or reject it by Dec. 21, Cynthia Duffe, senior project manager and general counsel for ND Consulting, said.

Additional parcels of land could be considered for new construction of similar affordable housing developments, including future renovation plans for downtown Columbia, Duffe said. The housing authority has identified several vacant and abandoned properties in the central city that it believes might be suitable.

"Our goal is to meet a variety of needs for affordable housing for people of different incomes," Columbia Housing Authority CEO Phil Steinhaus said.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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