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Affordable housing plan joins

By Louis Hoglund

Meeting the demand for affordable housing will require a multifaceted approach, and that's what the Perham Housing and Redevelopment Authority is planning.

Construction of one affordable home annually, and as many as two within 20 months, has been proposed by the HRA.

"One of the goals of the Perham Housing and Redevelopment Authority is to provide safe, affordable housing to those in the workforce who may otherwise be unable to own their own home," wrote Mary Holzer, assistant director of the HRA, in the proposal to the Perham City Council.

The HRA is going after Community Revitalization Funding to help fuel the affordable housing plan. The grant program is highly competitive, so the more collaborative the plan, and the more organizations, agencies and businesses are involved--the odds of receiving a grant imprpove. The collaborative program utilizes the Perham YouthBuild Program, through the Perham school district. Students of the Alternative Learning Center have been learning building trades on the job for the past several years, including extensive remodeling of existing homes and new construction.

The city of Perham is also being asked to come on board as a partner in the HRA's affordable housing initiative.

The city is already waiving sewer-water connection and building permit fees for new HRA homes.

In addition, the HRA is asking the city to commit to one year of free water and sewer service for each home constructed under the program.

Low to moderate income families are eligible to buy the homes, and the income guidelines are quite specific.