New housing funding decision due in May
NEWARK – LEADS CEO Kenneth Kempton will know by May 14 if funding is available to move ahead with a project to create 25 to 30 single-family low income housing units in Buckeye Lake Village. If funding is approved, homes will be built on scattered lots throughout the village where derelict homes were demolished, and LEADS plans to purchase enough land to create roughly 10 new homes on East Street.
Last February, LEADS’ plans to construct single-family homes for low income families failed to get the village’s endorsement when council members refused to move for adoption on the resolution of support’s third and final reading.
However, Kempton said LEADS now only needs approval from Buckeye Lake Mayor Clay Carroll, which it has, to move forward and the project does not require the village council’s approval. “Buckeye Lake would be a perfect location for this type of housing,” said Kempton. “We thought it was a perfect project.” He’s optimistic the project will be funded.
LEADS sponsored a lightly attended meeting at the Buckeye Lake Village Hall Feb. 13 to explain the lease purchase housing proposal.
Assuming the project is funded, LEADS Lease Purchase Housing will be located on scattered sites throughout Buckeye Lake Village. There will be 25 to 30 single-family housing units with three to four bedrooms and one or two car attached garages. The homes will be roughly 1,400 to 1,500 square feet. The houses will be rented to qualified families for 15 years. After 15 years, the existing residents or other families will have the option to purchase the house at an affordable rate. Residency will be restricted to families who, at their initial occupancy, make no more than 60 percent of the local median income adjusted for family size. Maximum annual incomes for a three, four, and five person household are $37,800; $42,000; and $45,360 respectively.
LEADS will be the managing general partner and owner of the homes. LEADS is a community action agency formed in 1965 and incorporated in 1966 with the purpose of assisting economically disadvantaged Licking County families. LEADS previously developed the Blue Heron Manor apartments on Mill Dam Road using the tax credit program.
Financing will be applied to from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency Housing Tax Credit program and the development would have a conventional first mortgage from a commercial lender. The financing for this development is strictly a development subsidy; there is no direct HUD or Licking Metropolitan Housing Authority rental assistance provided to the residents by LEADS.
The project will have oversight from LEADS, the tax credit investor, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, and the first mortgage lender. This oversight at a minimum includes annual physical and occupancy reviews and inspections.
All potential residents will undergo a screening process including credit, background, criminal, and rental history checks. There may also be home visits and past references used. Occupancy will depend upon the applicants passing the screening process and their ability to pay rent. There is no rental subsidy provided. The homes will be professionally managed and property management will monitor home maintenance. There will be house rules for all residents that will cover lawn care, exterior appearance of the house, and basic homeownership guidance. If residents do not live up to the house rules, maintain their lawns, and pay rent, they will be evicted under Ohio law.
Kempton said residents would need a conventional home loan to purchase the house at the end of 15 years. He said the project is not designed to attract people from outside the village. “It’s to give current residents affordable housing,” said Kempton, adding that the project would have “no negative impact” on the village.
Kempton said if funding were to be approved May 14, it would be another year before construction begins, and then roughly two years to complete the construction. “We would expect it to be done long before that,” he said. Kempton said the homes would be rented as they were completed, meaning there would be no new homes sitting empty until the rest are finished. He said the contract for the project would be bid out like any other project. “We will find who will do the best job at the best price,” Kempton said.
Previously, Carroll said the village is not giving LEADS lots now owned by the village after derelict homes were demolished during the last few years. “This does not have anything to do with us giving them those lots we have where we tore down houses or anything like that,” he said. “They weren’t looking for us to give them anything.”
Anyone with questions about the project should contact LEADS Asset Management Director Teresa Groves at (740) 945-3158 or firstname.lastname@example.org.