LOU HOME hosts information session for Belle Rivers, Eastover housing developments

Published 10:30 am Friday, June 29, 2018

Members of the LOU community gathered at the Lafayette County and Oxford Public Library on Thursday night for an information session on the recently announced Belle Rivers and Eastover housing developments.

Many attendees arrived more than an hour early for the seminar, which was hosted by LOU HOME, Inc. During the presentation, board members explained the application requirements, as well as how to improve credit scores to prepare for the application process.

LOU HOME is partnering with private investor Stuart Rutledge for the project, which will consist of 96 three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom units, with 48 in Belle Rivers and another 48 in Eastover. The 1,400 square-foot, two-story units will be part of a “quad-plex” of units, and each will include a two-car garage.

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Forrest Jenkins, a board member for LOU-HOME and a law professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law, explained the need for this type of housing, and what interested parties need to know about living in the developments.

“These are affordable developments with commitments to provide affordable housing in Oxford,” Jenkins said. “These are funded through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. It’s a way that private investors can get benefit from investing in affordable housing, particularly when they have the help of a non-profit.”

Lease sign-up will begin in Summer 2019. Leases will be annual, and rent is expected be at or below $700. Because the complexes are part of the LIHTC program, the units will be exclusively for rent from 2019 to 2033. In 2034, however, 15 years after they open, all units must be sold.

This does not mean that residents will be out of a home, however. Residents who are living in Belle Rivers and Eastover in 2034 will have first preference to buy, as well as receive a generous discount. For every month’s rent the resident has paid, that amount will be discounted off the unit’s sale price.

For example, if a resident has paid $700 a month for all 15 years, $126,000 will be deducted from the purchase price of the home. It’s an incentive Jenkins said is unique to Belle Rivers and Eastover.

“LOU’s mission is about home ownership. What we want to do is look ahead 15 years,” she said. “From my standpoint, I would call these developments a lease-purchase, because you can lease for 15 years, with a renewable one-year lease that is dependent on income verification and all these other factors. And then at one moment in 2034, sale prices of these units will be set according to federal guidelines and the option will be open for whoever is a current tenant to buy that unit.”

While the federal guidelines are impossible to predict so far into the future, Jenkins said the sale prices of the units will be markedly less than the average sale price of comparable units in the area.

Because the homes are intended to be workforce housing, potential residents must earn no more than 60 percent of the annual median family income, $43,000. For a single occupant, the accepted income will be no more than approximately $27,660 per year. Two occupants cannot earn more than approximately $31,620 in a year at the time of application.

Annual income will be evaluated as part of the application process, but income fluctuations are expected to be grandfathered in, Jenkins said.

In order to be considered for a lease at Belle Rivers or Eastover, applicants must provide proof of income, prior residential history going back at least two years, good credit, birth certificates for minors, a social security card, a photo ID and one month’s rent as a security deposit.

Belle Rivers and Eastover will be located off University Avenue, between Kroger and Highway 334.

For more information or to view the handouts from the information session, visit the LOU HOME Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LouHomeInc.