‘Defense Area’ Redevelopment Brings Housing and Jobs to Madison County

Illinois Housing Development Authority provides crucial funding to build Emerald Ridge and create 80 local jobs

EAST ALTON–(ENEWSPF)–February 10, 2014.  In one year, a new development of 46 new rental single-family homes for working families will open on the former site of a World War II-era development known as the “Defense Area” properties of East Alton.

As the state’s housing finance agency under Governor Pat Quinn, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) allocated federal low-income housing tax credits (Housing Credits) that generated more than $11 million in private equity, and an additional $2.4 million in federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund and Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit resources to build Emerald Ridge. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) also provided a $184,000 grant to add energy-saving features and reduce the operating cost and maintenance of the units. The Village of East Alton and Madison County also provided financing. The development is projected to create more than 80 jobs.

“Emerald Ridge demonstrates Governor Pat Quinn’s commitment to creating more affordable housing opportunities so our state’s working families, seniors and people with disabilities have a secure place to live. The Housing Credit program that helped finance this development is crucial to creating safe and decent affordable housing in our state,” IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said. “IHDA is proud to help the Village of East Alton achieve its redevelopment goals and stimulate economic activity.”

Federal Housing Credits are a critical funding source for the state to create and preserve affordable housing. The need is great – the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University found half of all renters nationwide are housing cost burdened and spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent.

In 1986, Congress created the Housing Credit program to spur the development of affordable housing. The program is widely considered the most productive affordable housing financing tool in the nation. The sale of credits to private investors generates equity, and this equity reduces the need for the developer to borrow money for the new development. The savings result in lower rents.

To date, the program has provided critical financing for the development of 75,000 affordable homes and more than 86,000 jobs in Illinois. This activity led to a return of $6.6 billion in local income for Illinois and $644.7 million in state and local tax revenue.

Developed by Rise Community Development in partnership with Southwestern Illinois Development Authority (SWIDA), Emerald Ridge will feature 23 two-, 11 three- and 12 four-bedroom homes. Future residents can expect reduced utility bills through energy efficient design and construction, including increased insulation, Energy Star appliances, reflective roofing and high-efficiency systems.

IHDA representatives today joined public-private partners to celebrate Emerald Ridge, which is the latest development to break ground under Governor Quinn’s leadership. Since 2009, IHDA has provided $2.2 billion in financing to build or preserve more than 19,600 affordable apartments in 131 communities across the state, generating an estimated 20,280 jobs.

“Governor Quinn’s administration is dedicated to working with developers in providing affordable living options in every corner of the state,” said Adam Pollet, director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. “The construction of Emerald Ridge will not only help working families in East Alton find housing, it will also add more than 80 good-paying jobs in Illinois.”

Residents must earn 60 percent or less of the area median income (AMI), or $40,260 for a family of four in Madison County. Ten of the units are targeted for extremely low-income people with disabilities or special needs earning no more than 30 percent AMI, or $16,110 for a two-person household.

“We’re committed to revitalizing communities and neighborhoods in the Greater St. Louis area,” said Stephen Acree, president of Rise. “The redevelopment of the ‘Defense Area’ in East Alton is being built on strong partnerships that will reinforce a resilient and healthy community.”

The development will be completed in early 2015. For more information, see www.risestl.org.

Source: illinois.gov