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Low Income Housing Solution

Low Income Housing Solution

The 12th district suffers from a shortage of affordable housing for low income individuals and families. But building high rent luxury apartments or townhomes in the areas where they are needed the most isn’t helping to solve the problem. It magnifies the problem as the residents have to move away from their neighborhoods that many have lived in all their life. This re-development and displacement of residents can be solved with a sensible solution that not only help low-income residents but removes the stigma of living in a low income housing project.

My approach and solution is to create rent-to-own condo style apartments which will promote a sense of financial security and pride in living in these apartments. These apartments will help not only with a roof over the tenants head but also building a future. These apartments can be built for around $80-100 per square foot on smaller lots of about ½ an acre to 1 acre. Building smaller apartment buildings with 8-12 apartments in 2 to 3 stories will melt in better in the neighborhoods and should be easier to develop within zoning requirements. The small scales will also help create diversity in neighborhoods with small commercial spaces available on the ground floor. These spaces can be offered to tenants to create businesses or rented out to established commercial interests to help lower the rents of the tenants’ apartments.

These condo style apartments are owned by a nonprofit organization up to the point when a tenant living in the apartment for 20 years will become the tenants’ free and clear. The tenant will continue to pay a small maintenance fee to cover exterior repairs and maintenance. The tenant is responsible for any damage or costs for repairs inside the apartment at all times living there, this is to promote accountability and responsibility for the property in exchange for very low rent-to-own rates.  

These condo style apartments will serve multiple purposes, not only providing an affordable housing for minimum wage earners but a possibility to own the condo if the tenant pays the rent, keep their employment, stays off drugs, felony convictions etc. If a tenant fails to live up to the stipulations in the rent-to-own contract they will be removed from the property and lose the opportunity to own the apartment. The level of income to qualify for one of these apartments have to be analyzed, but whatever the levels for an individual, a couple or family with children is, it should be with room for upward earnings. If the tenants’ earnings exceed the maximum threshold for two consecutive years the tenant have to move out without the possibility to obtain ownership of the condo.

The primary goal with this is to promote stability and a future for low-income earners, giving them options for their future not only a place to live.  It will instill a sense of ownership pride and responsibility for the property, tenants will look after it and each other and protect it.

This solution have the potential to be self-funded once it is growing in size and tenants are paying the rents. The cash flow can provide funding for new units and thus using less money from local and federal agencies.  I believe with the right incentives you can achieve some incredible results and an overall better community.

Paid for by Carl Persson for US Congress
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