Housing authority cuts ribbon at new community building

Published 9:07 am Thursday, March 28, 2024

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On Wednesday morning, the LaGrange Housing Authority (LHA) held a ribbon cutting at the new community building for the newest tax credit development for the Phoenix Way II property.

Surrounded by colorful buildings, LHA staff cut the ribbon on the new community space and their fourth tax credit property.

“This is what affordable housing looks like. This is what affordable housing is and this is what we do. It’s called affordable housing. We decided a long time ago you got to put people over profit,” LHA CEO Zsa Zsa Heard said.

Heard said they want to build more affordable houses, but they need the community’s help to do it.

“We want to make it diverse, and we want to bring things that everybody can have and really clean up the community. We’re feeding the needs of everybody that needs housing. That means that there’s got to be some for a teacher or a fireman, a lawyer or a doctor. It has to be all types of houses. So we’re in that business to do that,” Heard said.

Corinne Thornton of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, one of the state’s housing and community development agencies, said that the new LHA housing is a prime example of the work that they can help communities achieve through housing tax credits.

“Housing Tax Credits are probably the nation’s greatest tool for building affordable housing. The beauty of this program is it lets communities determine what that housing looks like,” Thornton said.

“What these tax credits allow communities to do is build the housing that’s appropriate for them. So you can look around the state and see the thousands of units that we built with tax credits, and none of them will look the same. They will look like what the community demands and what the community needs,” she said. “This is a great example of a local community using these tools to build the housing. It’s just one of the tools that we have at DCA for community housing needs. We’re just so proud that the LaGrange Housing Authority and the LaGrange community in general for doing projects like this.”

About 58 new units are available within the development, but they are currently taking applications and filling them up. Heard said she expects them to be fully occupied by March 31.

Heard explained that they were able to develop the new housing through a tax credit investment through US Bank.

“They’ve invested $13 million into the deal. So they get a tax write-off every year, dollar for dollar to fill that gap, to do it. We manage it, and we get asset management fees, to be able to maintain the properties, but they get the tax write-off. The units have to be fully occupied for at least 90% of the time so that they don’t lose their tax credit,” Heard explained.

She said they have two more developments in the works, including one using $1.8 million in federal funds to construct four quadruplexes, for a total of 16 new homes on Revis St.