The City of Jackson continues to make progress in the ongoing effort to create more affordable housing options and help homeless residents. At the Tuesday, March 21 meeting, the Jackson City Council approved a package of groundbreaking proposals to provide more housing and homeless resources for the community.
In one of the landmark proposals, the City Council approved a plan from the Affordable Housing Development Board to use $3.3 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds for new home construction and rehabilitations. $500,000 will be used to expand the current Homeowner Rehabilitation Assistance Program, which helps residents with critical house repairs so they can stay in their homes. $2.5 million has been earmarked to construct up to 100 new homes on vacant City lots and create a program to make the homes affordable for residents to buy.
In another effort to provide more affordable housing for residents, the City Council gave initial approval to a proposal from a private developer, Allen Edwin Homes, to build up to 136 single-family homes on vacant City lots. The first step was providing a tax incentive for the developer, with the property sales under consideration at a future meeting. These houses will be income-controlled rentals so they are affordable for the community.
Mayor Daniel Mahoney says hundreds of new homes will bring fresh energy to Jackson’s neighborhoods. “In the coming years, we are going to build the most homes in Jackson since the end of World Ward II, and we’re excited to see it happen,” Mayor Mahoney said.
To bolster the City’s current housing, the City Council approved the sales of 10 vacant City-owned homes. The tax-foreclosed properties were sold for as low as $8,000 to account for the substantial investment it will take to get the houses back into livable conditions. City staff have been increasing the amount of City-owned homes for sale in recent years to increase Jackson’s housing stock.
The City Council also continued its recent work of battling homelessness in the community by approving the use of $150,000 in ARP funds to acquire the vacant T.A. Wilson Academy facility from Jackson Public Schools. Located on W. Morrell Street south of Downtown Jackson, City staff plan on using the former school for a homeless shelter and temporary housing. Since last Dec., the City has been using ARP funds to get homeless individuals and families off the streets and into safer living conditions.
City Manager Jonathan Greene says these efforts show that the City is listening to the housing concerns of residents. “Housing efforts of this caliber are a first for the City of Jackson. I am proud of our elected officials and staff for launching this monumental work,” Greene said. “As the City continues to take a leadership role in providing more housing, we will need residents and local organizations working with us to make sure everyone has safe and affordable places to live.”
City staff plan on getting these initiatives started as soon as possible, with new home construction expected to start this summer.