City-funded affordable housing project to celebrate completion Saturday

An open house will be held Saturday for the first city-funded affordable housing project completed since Lawrence revamped its efforts to address the issue.

“This is an opportunity to see what local affordable housing dollars have done,” said Affordable Housing Advisory Board member Rebecca Buford. “People can walk through the houses and see what we can build.”

The approximately $500,000 project, a three-home complex, was paid for in part with $100,000 from the city’s affordable housing trust fund. It’s the first project reviewed by the Affordable Housing Advisory Board, which was established by the City Commission in July 2015.

The three homes were built on a large parcel on La Salle Street after a blighted home was demolished. The dedication and open house will allow people to tour two of the homes, Buford said. She said the third home is nearing completion but still has a few weeks to go.

The $100,000 from the city’s affordable housing trust was split between the Lawrence Habitat for Humanity and Lawrence Tenants to Homeowners. Three other nonprofit agencies — Family Promise, Lawrence Douglas County Housing Authority, and Willow Domestic Violence Center — were also partners in the project.

Two of the properties, located at 906 and 910 La Salle St., are four-bedroom homes that will be rented by Tenants to Homeowners at affordable rates in perpetuity, said Buford, who is also the director of Tenants to Homeowners. The other property, built by Habitat for Humanity, will be offered for ownership but will remain in the affordable housing trust whenever it is resold, she said.

“They will always serve as affordable housing,” Buford said.

The city allocated $300,000 toward the affordable housing trust in 2017, and the board will begin accepting applications for those funds in March. The city’s five-year capital improvement plan includes another $300,000 for the trust in 2018 and $350,000 per year from 2019 through 2021. The board is also in the process of identifying additional funding sources for the trust.

The dedication and open house of the La Salle Street affordable housing project will be at 9 a.m. Saturday at 902 and 906 La Salle St.