Council OKs Funds For Affordable Housing Trust
Oversight and the initial dollars are now in place for Lexington’s new affordable housing trust, but city leaders have yet to discuss future funding.
$2 million - that’s the starting amount the council agreed to channel into the fund, which will be used to support the renovation or construction of affordable houses for lower-income residents.
Standing alongside a large group of supporters, housing advocate Adam Jones said the trust fund has endured enough scrutiny.
"After six long years, the affordable housing fund has been discussed, studied, vetted, planned for, and now it's time for it to be passed," Jones told the council. "Our city should be a place where everyone has a safe affordable place to call home. Right now it is not, but you have the opportunity and the responsibility to change that."
The plan was not without critics, however.
Resident Bernard McCarthy questioned the mechanism for helping low-income Lexingtonians, saying, "While it may seem like a nice thing that you're putting money into an affordable housing fund, the real problem is that you're putting that into subsidizing rent when you really ought to be putting into money into subsidizing ownership of houses for the poor."
The council also approved $750,000 for the Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention. For now, the ordinances do not guarantee a steady stream of funding.
In addition, city leaders also OKed a property tax increase for homes that are abandoned or unoccupied. The change will amount to an extra $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value on the houses.