Cost will depend on renters’ income |[04/29/07]

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 29, 2007

Approved tenants at Madison Glen and other complexes built by low income housing tax credits will have rental rates that can fit their budget even if their hourly wage is less than $8 per hour.

Rates are based on annual income of potential renters who will be subject to background checks for eligibility, in accordance with federal regulations governing rent-assisted housing.

Current residents of the Circle Lake apartments will have to apply to live in the remodeled Madison Glen complex, Cramer said, with most individuals and families likely to meet income requirements.

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Applicants will qualify if their income is at or below 60 percent of the area median family income. The MHC is using a figure of $48,500 for developments proposed in Warren County, a figure based on annual population and income estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The census has estimated lower figures for Vicksburg proper, closer to the $30,000 to $35,000 range.

Income and rent limits are updated annually, said Scott Spivey, vice president of corporate communications for MHC.

Rate schedules for all developments financed in 2007 with low income housing tax credits show maximum annual incomes for one tenant at $20,820, with highest possible monthly rent set at $520.50. Four people desiring space in any one unit must be paid no more than $29,700 collectively to qualify for a monthly rent less than the $742.50 maximum.

Hourly, those figures roughly break down to between $7 and $8 per hour, the targeted demographic to which the income and rent formula is geared in an effort to cater to those often priced out of traditional, market-rate rental units, Spivey said.

Tenants such as Brie Madison, 35, would qualify.

Madison, a short order cook and waitress who has lived at Circle Lake for about a year with her daughter, McKenzie, 3, and son, Dee, 6, said tenants haven’t been told much about the impending change in ownership, but said she has been satisfied living in the complex.

&#8220I have no idea what they’re going to do,” Madison said. &#8220I have no complaints, though.”

Even a completion on one of the three developments proposed here could alleviate a pronounced shortage in affordable housing.

According to the 2000 Census, the fastest-growing segment of owner-occupied homes in Warren County are in the $100,000 to $200,000 range – in many cases, just beyond affordability for many current renters.

A sizeable chunk of Vicksburg and Warren County’s labor force at the larger employers – about 23 percent, according to Census figures estimates by local economic development pros- commute from surrounding counties in Mississippi and parishes in Louisiana.