[StBernard] Affordable Housing

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Mon Jan 15 20:27:21 EST 2007

Coincidentally, the following article was posted on the Hammond paper's

Wanted: Affordable housing
By Brooks Rice

Daily Star Staff Writer

The city of Hammond has a housing shortage.

While there has been an influx of upper-end subdivision development, the
city lacks affordable housing for mid-income, single families.

"There's not enough housing stock to supply their home ownership needs,"
Director of Administration Martis Jones said.

Jones spoke of people who earn anywhere from $22,000 to $45,000 a year, such
as school teachers, police officers, firefighters and city officials, but
cannot find a home in their price range. Workers who earn that amount of
money typically buy homes ranging from $79,000 to $120,000, she said.

The problem is the city has a shortage of such homes for purchase, Jones

"We do have gainfully employed people in Hammond who are looking to be
homeowners, but we don't have an ample stock of homes in their range," she

Many of these people are forced either to rent their homes or make long
commutes from more affordable parts of Tangipahoa Parish to their jobs in
Hammond, all at a long-term financial hindrance for them.

"The goal is to get hard- working people into homes. We want them to have a
house they can afford, to move from a renter to a home owner," Jones said.
"It can be very disappointing for a person over time not to find a house in
their price range."

Not only does Jones want middle income workers to have the financial health
of home ownership, she said more work force housing is necessary for
employers. More work force housing is an incentive for prospective employers
because they know there are places for their employees to live.

Jones said she and other city officials are taking measures to provide more
work force housing to Hammond residents.

"We're looking at ways to get working people into homes," she said.

Jones and City Planner John Dardis are devising a work force housing plan,
which should be completed sometime in February. The two went to Washington
last month to discuss Hammond's need for affordable housing with area
federal legislators.

The plan will determine the specific need for work force housing in Hammond,
which Jones and Dardis will then present to Housing and Urban Development

"We'll learn about incentives we can give to developers," she said.

Such incentives include tax incentives to building developers to persuade
them to construct single family housing in the $79,000 to $120,000 range
intended for purchase.

Middle income people are also eligible for the American Dream Down payment
Initiative. This federal program can provide up to $10,000 for middle
income, first time home buyers.

"The American dream is owning your own home," Jones said.

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