Public-Private Partnership Means Affordable Housing For Many Families

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TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – Affordable housing is a reality for more than seventy families in two developments that were once home to blighted apartments.

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The ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the former site of an apartment complex that police say was a haven for illegal activity.

Today, the offices for “Hancock Estates” are on the site. To the south and west are new single family homes, each around 1,400 square feet.

The homes were built as part of a public-private partnership to help redevelop blighted areas in Tupelo. The city purchased the former apartments, cleared the property, and sold it to two development companies.

The companies applied for and received funding from the federal tax credit housing program through Mississippi Home Corporation. The development is for families who do not qualify for public housing but cannot afford homes on the market.

Homes are rented at an affordable rate, and after fifteen years, tenants can buy the home at an affordable price. There are tax credits for developers.

“These houses, they are worth about 200 thousand dollars, if they pay the full fifteen years, fifteen years from now we will sell it to them for about fifty thousand dollars, and have the opportunity, if they want to, they could stay rental if they want to,” said Britton Jones, of Winters Construction, which built King Pines.

Developers of Hancock Estates and King Pines weren’t sure how demand was going to be for the homes. Currently, there are more than 200 people on a waiting list for 76 houses. And they are all occupied.

“It’s a wonderful project, it represents the possibility of homeownership for so many and all positive aspects that go with homeownership,” said Shane Hooper, who served as Tupelo’s Director of Development Services during the initial stages of the project.

Stephanie Stubbs was asked to sing during the ceremony. She and her husband have lived in the area for years and say the new homes have transformed the neighborhood.

“I see so much excitement, see so much improvement in so many people, it’s safer, kids are happy,” Stephanie Stubbs said.

“I see a lot of kids out playing, it’s the American dream, for kids to be able to come outside and play safe,” said Bryant Stubbs.

The two developments are the largest revitalization projects so far in all American City.

Developers of both projects say they hope to work with Tupelo in the future on similar ventures.