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Renovated Apartment Complex Underscores Need For Low-Income Housing

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 22 Jun 2011 04:10pm | comments
Brian Shumway shows off before and after pictures.

Efforts are underway to expand housing options for low income Mississippians. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports on a Mississippi company cutting the ribbon on a newly renovated affordable housing site in Jackson.

Lincoln Garden Apartment manager Taj Cole explains some of the renovations down to her apartment complex in Northwest Jackson.

Once dilapidated and half closed, Lincoln Garden has been completely re-done and is now income limited with residents paying a percentage of their income instead of a pre-set rent.

The apartments allowed 26-year old Lashunda William and her two children to move their own apartment for the first time.

"I like they way they remodeled it and it is real nice and I feel security. I like it. (reporter: are you able to afford the place) Yeah. It all adds up but I am making it," William said.

The Wishcamper Company, which renovated this complex, is responsible for low-income housing developments around Mississippi.

Brian Shumway with Wishcamper says he considers building affordable housing an important social commitment.

"Our nation has a dwindling stock of affordable housing. Sometimes you have deteriorating housing conditions for some of the country's most vulnerable population. We are able to use new tools that are available from the federal government and mix them with some of the old subsidies and really help empower people. And help them build a more productive life within the communities that they already live in," Shumway said.

This project was funded in part by tax credits and stimulus spending in addition to traditional bank loans.

Senator Hillman Fraiser, the chair of the senator Housing Committee, says Mississippi could encourage more companies to build affordable housing if the state had a trust fund dedicated to providing funds for low income projects.

"You have to change the mindset of the policy makers, and the investors also, to let them know that this is the right thing to do. That this investment is going to pay dividends in the long run, in terms of producing quality residents who will become taxpaying citizens and contribute to society," Fraiser said.

There seems to be demand for the apartments...Lincoln  Garden is 97-percent full even though residents have to get a reference from the state and sometimes be visited at their old home before they are allowed to move in.

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Brian Shumway shows off before and after pictures.


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