Two Columbia Housing Authority projects receive funds for development, renovation

Friday, June 20, 2014 | 6:24 p.m. CDT; updated 5:03 p.m. CDT, Saturday, June 21, 2014

COLUMBIA — Efforts to improve affordable housing options for low-income Columbia residents received a boost Friday when the Columbia Housing Authority received assistance for two projects.

The Missouri Housing Development Commission approved requests for help with financing to build the Mid-Missouri Veterans Campus and to renovate Stuart Parker Apartments and Paquin Tower.

An application for assistance to renovate the Bear Creek Apartments in north Columbia was denied.

Veterans Campus

The Veterans Campus was awarded nearly $4.4 million in federal and state tax credits and tax-exempt bonds. The assistance awarded includes:

  • Federal tax credits ($133,941), at 85 cents to the dollar 
  • State tax credits ($133,941), at 45 cents to the dollar
  • Tax-exempt bonds ($3.1 million)
  • Affordable Housing Assistance Program credits from the commission ($1 million)

State tax credits are given to the Housing Authority on the condition that it keeps rent prices in the targeted properties low and that the apartments be reserved for low-income people. The authority then sells the credit to people with tax liabilities, and the state forgives the debt. 

Columbia Housing Authority has also applied for $500,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, which, if approved, will be given out in November. 

The Veterans Campus program is supported by the Housing Authority, Welcome Home Inc. and Truman Veterans Hospital to provide permanent and transitional housing for veterans, as well as support services and a place for veterans to be with other veterans. 

The Veterans Campus will be at 2112 Business Loop 70 E., where the Deluxe Inn is now located.

The Housing Authority's portion of the campus will comprise 25 one-bedroom apartments of permanent housing for participants of the Housing and Urban Development's Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program. That part of the campus also will include a fitness room, computer lab, laundry facilities and office and programming space. 

The veterans housing program is run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which provides homeless veterans housing assistance and support services, according to its website. The program uses a voucher system to help homeless veterans and their families move into permanent housing. 

Columbia Housing Authority administers 85 vouchers and has served more than 165 veterans through the program, according to a news release from housing authority CEO Phil Steinhaus.

Welcome Home Inc. — a shelter for homeless veterans at 1206 Range Line St. — currently provides temporary housing for 10 veterans. Its portion of the new campus will house 29 veterans temporarily in a motel-like setting, with private bathrooms. This addition will allow the shelter to provide private space for female veterans and veterans with children. The project will contain a commercial kitchen, dining room, lounge area, computer lab, laundry facilities, a patio and office and programming space. 

Welcome Home and the VA hospital also will house a Supportive Services Center. 

Stuart Parker Apartments and Paquin Tower

The Housing Authority also received nearly $13 million in tax credits and bonds to pay for the renovation of 284 public housing apartments. The assistance awarded includes:

  • Federal tax credits ($833,983), at 85 cents to the dollar
  • State tax credits ($700,000), at 45 cents to the dollar
  • Tax-exempt bonds ($11.4 million)

Stuart Parker Apartments comprises 84 townhomes and garden apartments in the Lincoln, Unity, Worley, Oak and Hicks public housing neighborhoods. These apartments are the oldest public housing properties the Housing Authority owns, Steinhaus said in the release.

Major renovations will make the apartments more livable, accessible and energy efficient while also attempting to minimize the relocation of existing residents, according to the release. 

Minor improvements also will be made to the 200 apartments in Paquin Tower, which houses low-income seniors and people with disabilities. 

This program will be the first approved Rental Assistance Demonstration program in Missouri. The program will provide housing choice vouchers to subsidize rent. These apartments will become approved Section 8 housing after renovations. 

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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