Local agency gets nearly $750,000 for single family homes

Published 11:20 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2009

FERRIDAY — Nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in grants have been awarded to a local housing agency.

The Macon Ridge Community Development Corporation was awarded a $243,800 grant by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which was used to purchase and develop 20 single-family lots in the Belle Grove subdivision near Vidalia.

The corporation was also awarded a $500,000 grant from the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency.

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Those funds will be used to build and rehabilitate 21 single-family homes, half of which will be in the Belle Grove subdivision and half in the North Park subdivision in Ferriday, Macon Ridge President Buddy Spillers said.

Some of those funds will also be passed along in the form of a grant to first-time homeowners buying one of those properties, Spillers said.

Depending on their qualifications, applicants could receive grants between $20,000 and $25,000.

“That means they can buy a $140,000 house and only have to pay back $115,000,” Spillers said. “That’s a pretty good leverage — it’s almost a 20 percent down payment.”

According to Spillers, a family of five with a household income of $37,300 or less would qualify, and since the passage of the recent stimulus package, first time homebuyers are also eligible for an $8,000 tax credit.

“That could mean $33,000 to these buyers,” Spillers said.

After a luncheon Tuesday to thank their partners and the agencies that provided the grant, Macon Ridge representatives and their partners went to the North Park subdivision to cut the ribbon on a house the corporation.

And seeing houses built is what it is all about, said LHFA representative Joyce Jackson.

“We sit in the office and see the funds go out, but it is wonderful to see the houses,” Jackson said.

The program Macon Ridge uses for home ownership is one that should be paid attention to, said George Miles, a regional representative for the Local Initiative Support Corporation, one of Macon Ridge’s partners.

“The work Macon Ridge is doing here for single-family homes is really a model for the Delta,” Miles said.

Macon Ridge will soon host homebuyer and literacy training classes, Spillers said.

For more information, contact Macon Ridge at 318-757-2361.