Mt. Sterling Partners With I.D.A. for Housing Needs

By Jeremy Coumbes on October 9, 2019 at 8:39am

The City of Mt. Sterling is working with the State of Illinois housing development authority (IDA), in an effort to attract more people to move to the area, and help give a housing boost to current residents.

Mt, Sterling City Administrator Vada Yingling said that the partnership came together relatively quickly.

“I first met Amy Bashiti with the Illinois Housing Authority in March at a community development workshop in Springfield, and they did a workshop on community revitalization in one of the sessions. I visited with her after and found some value in the program because one of the things from our Brown County survey that people wanted the most, was affordable housing. So we have been communicating on this for a few months and now the city counsel has approved the agreement between the city and I.D.A. In their September counsel meeting.”

An survey will be done in the community to assess what housing needs currently exist in the area. Yingling explained how the program and partnership will work going forward.

“It will be a community revitalization project, where the personnel from I.D.A. Come in and help do a community survey that assesses the need of not only what people can afford in housing, biut also what they are needing in housing, whether it be a two, three, or four bedroom home, apartment, senior living, or new homes. And then they also within the scope of this project, do a housing stock survey, so they have a really good idea of the number of homes in the community, the condition of the homes, how many empty lots are available, abandoned properties, blighted properties, and we get a really good idea of where we sit as a total for what housing our community offers people coming into our city.”

Yingling said the hope for this partnership program will be to develop more and better housing in Mt. Sterling to help increase the growth of the city.

“We feel that what we will gain out of that is, we will get on the radar of some developers, and we also through this process, are scored on a low income tax credit application. You might be familiar with the housing project that was completed over in Cass County in Virginia, Illinois, they built twenty-some houses over there through a low income tax credit program through a developer. If you score high enough then that determines how many tax credits the project will offer, and developers have investors that are interested in receiving those tax credits, and it becomes attractive to the developers, and I.D.A. shares that information out with developers, so they can try to get communities on the radar of these builders and developers. So our ultimate goal is to improve our current housing stock, while trying to attract developers for new housing.”

The process for the assessment is estimated to take 6 to 8 months. Yingling is putting together a list of local stakeholders who will then attend a meeting in November with representatives from IDA, to work out the details for promotion and implementation of the program for next year.

Yingling said that the goal is to have all of the planning completed over the winter so that the survey work can be undertaken during the warm weather months next year.

The partnership with IDA has no extra out of pocket costs for the city. Yingling said that volunteers with be sought out to help complete the survey work planned for next summer.