Archive for Saturday, April 18, 2009

City gets $500K to build rentals

Project to offer low-income alternatives

A big grant could help remake a vacant lot in east Lawrence.

April 18, 2009


More than $500,000 in federal grant money is coming to the city and Tenants to Homeowners to build low-income rental units in east Lawrence.

A project to build five low-income rental units on vacant lots in the 1100 block of Rhode Island Street has been awarded $555,000 in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding, Rebecca Buford, executive director of Lawrence-based Tenants to Homeowners, said Friday.

“With the economy the way it is right now, the need for affordable rental units is probably as big as the need for home ownership opportunities,” Buford said. “I know there are vacancies in the community, but the key is there has to be affordable units.”

Buford said construction work should begin in October on four two- or three-bedroom duplexes and one three-bedroom single-family home. The project will be on three vacant lots just south of an existing home at the southeast corner of 11th and Rhode Island streets.

The project is a partnership of the city, Douglas County and Tenants to Homeowners, which is a city-supported nonprofit group that builds affordable housing. Douglas County owns the three lots, just east of the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center.

Only families that are at least 50 percent below the federal median family income will be allowed to rent the units.

Buford said finding affordable housing for that income group has been particularly challenging in Lawrence.

“It is still around $500 to $600 for a lot of studio apartments in Lawrence,” Buford said. “If your income is $1,000 a month, how are you supposed to make that work?”

Scott McCullough, director of planning and development services for the city, said the lots already are zoned properly for the duplexes. He said the city is excited about moving ahead with the projects.

“This $500,000 of NSP funding helps the community address a recognized need for affordable housing, and we are anxious to put it to work,” McCullough said.

The need for the city to provide local matching funds for the grant is not expected, Buford said. Tenants to Homeowners has obtained a $50,000 grant from Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka to take care of those costs.

The grants also will allow the city and Tenants to Homeowners to purchase and rehabilitate one or two homes that are in the foreclosure process. The homes then would be sold to low-to-moderate income families.

The city and Tenants to homeowners hope to have about $150,000 of grant money left over after building the rental units to devote to the foreclosure purchase program.


wysiwyg69 9 years, 2 months ago

If your income is only 1000.00 a month you ad better get a second, or a different job if you want a life.

eotw33 9 years, 2 months ago

Just do what myself and everyone else is doing...move out of town!

Practicality 9 years, 2 months ago

If the city wants to increase the revenue that downtown generates, surrounding it with low-income housing doesn't appear to be the best way to do that.

Just my two cents.

Alexander Neighbors 9 years, 2 months ago

Marion, hell the city cant even fix the problem with the police department. They must be Running out of people to target in East lawrence so this might be a way to get the targeted population back up ......

Danimal 9 years, 2 months ago

So we're turning Lawrence into a Hooverville? Great idea, another winner from the city.

compmd 9 years, 2 months ago

So let's get this straight. They want to put up a whopping five houses for low income families on Rhode Island. How about regulating the ridiculous rental rates of the eleventy billion other rental units in this city?

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

none2 wrote, ".....They should also get into the automobile business so that we can have cheaper cars."

The Democrats in Congress have this on the agenda. They are talking about a voucher issued to citizens who have a clunker car of 2001 or earlier vintage they can trade in on a new vehicle. Bring the clunker to a dealer and get up to $5,000 credit. This might happen, as Pelosi is said to like the idea.

If you are even thinking about buying a new car and have the luxury of waiting, best wait. Obama might give you a $5,000 check if you buy from the "right" car maker. "Right" is to be determined by Obama. It is not likely to be a Ford, as Ford has not bowed down to the King and has not become indebted to him.

Thus is the beauty of a centrally planned economy.

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

Sorry, I had too many windows open. Please bilge this comment, it belongs on the Lippencott blog thread. My apologies.

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

I see a centrally planned economy as one where the governing elite pick and choose the winners and the losers in the economy.

That is precisely what Obama, Giethner, Bernanke, Pelosi, et al are doing.

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

What would happen if the $500,000 had been used to seed local businesses, rather than to buy land and pay, one time, for services to build houses that will be rented for far less than market rate of comparable rental properties?

lawthing 9 years, 2 months ago

Lawrence is already overbuilt. With a lot of empty rentals,

I bet the under belly of this plan is for the City to provide City owned rentals to the homeless population.

Tom McCune 9 years, 2 months ago

This is not a legitimate function of government. There is not one word in the constitution about the federal government taxing individuals, to give the money to local governments, to build houses, to rent to other individuals.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 2 months ago

Swan... was that a joke? If you are striving to appear intellectual, informed and politically correct, you accomplished your goal. We all get that you appear to be all that.

"the objective of creating a permanent under-class out of 70% of our population"

Wow, what sort of objective is that?

mae 9 years, 2 months ago

$500 for a studio is ridiculous when $750 should get you a mortgage on an entry home with good credit. This stimulus seems to be exploited by the very people who hate obama. It almost seems he's exploiting the ones who had hope when voting. I don't see where it's being regulated to help low income people. Having rent doesn't help anyone. Giving responsible low income people low payment crappy housing that they can afford to own and possibly fix up does. There's so many houses going to waste with busted pipes and ruined roofs/exteriors that could easily be reduced to 50% price to approved buyers. I've been tracking about 5 houses that have been pretty much abandoned aside from lawnmowing from one realtor for 2yrs. It's a lynch mob! The price has gone from $75 to low $30's, you can't tell me the government that now controls big bank won't give out subsidies to get these occuppied. Maybe not homeless & jobless, but at least the 20-30 age living with others could invest in something worthwhile and pay taxes.

mae 9 years, 2 months ago

:) who do you hire to fix your house? low income people that can fix the dilapidated houses in your area or master's student's that don't know a thing about their own house?

we can fix this problem easily by financing low income good credit people on cheaper old housing rather than razing and rebuilding. most people that are eligible would laugh that off as plastic homes and opt for older homes anyways.

/after they put them up for you just to get some work

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