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Affordable housing plan unveiled for Garth Avenue and Sexton Road

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 | 9:56 p.m. CDT; updated 8:53 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 17, 2013

*Update: This story has been revised to correct the time of Thursday's meeting.

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Housing Authority unveiled Tuesday the preliminary designs for affordable housing that will be built near the intersection of Garth Avenue and Sexton Road.

The plan called for a mix of 30 to 40 apartments and about five single-family homes.

The authority plans to form a partnership with the city of Columbia and the Columbia Community Development Corp. to develop more than 140,000 square feet on the properties for low-income residents and families.

The plan will be presented to the public at 7 p.m.* Thursday at Oak Towers, 700 N. Garth Ave.

The housing authority will also share further plans to develop additional affordable housing in the Ridgeway, Douglass Park and Oak Towers neighborhoods.

In December, the authority acquired six properties at the Garth and Sexton intersection. The city owns three adjacent vacant lots at 106, 108 and 110 W. Sexton Road. The Community Development Corp. owns three adjacent vacant lots at 109, 111 and 113 Lynn St. Before redeveloping the area, it plans to demolish two dilapidated structures at 700 Oak St. and 105 Lynn St.

The Garth-Sexton plan is part of a larger effort by the housing authority to create new affordable housing options. Last year, it unsuccessfully applied for low-income housing tax credits through the Missouri Housing Development Commission for a project to develop apartments off Lambeth Drive.

The housing authority also is preparing to embark on an extensive renovation of its public housing town homes on Trinity Place and Lincoln Drive and hopes to coordinate that work with the Garth-Sexton project to accommodate the need to relocate current public housing residents.

The agency has been working for much of the past year with ND Consulting Group, Capital Consultants and the community development corporation to refine its strategies.

According to a report to the housing authority's board of commissioners, the three housing types the agency identifies as high priority are one-bedroom apartments, housing with supportive services and homes that can be made available for ownership by people with low incomes. More than 275 residents are on the waiting list for a one-bedroom apartment, the report said. 

The Affordable Housing Initiative will target families and individuals who fall in 30 to 50 percent of area median family income.

The authority will apply for state and federal 9 percent low-income housing tax credits from the Missouri Housing Development Commission. The application is due in September, and design architect Paul Berry said most of the building decisions will be made in the next couple of months. If granted, the tax credits would be the primary source of money for the project. 

On Tuesday, the commission approved applications for four other sources of money for the project. Those include:

  • A $106,000 HOME grant application to the city of Columbia for a two-year rental assistance program for people who are difficult to house, including those with mental illnesses, people leaving correctional facilities without adequate housing plans, and victims of domestic violence. Partner agencies would provide $25,000 of in-kind supportive services to the project annually.
  • A $350,000 HOME Rental Production Funding Application to the city for the construction of affordable rental housing.
  • An application for $200,000 in Community Development Block Grant money that would pay for work on sanitary and storm sewers, roads and utilities.
  • An application for up to $500,000 in affordable housing program money to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines. The competitive grants pay for the purchase, construction and rehabilitation of housing for low-to moderate-income households. Several banks within the Columbia Community Development Corp. are also members of the Des Moines bank and support the plan.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.


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