When Doug retired to his hometown of Mount Sterling, KY, after teaching statistics and psychology in Daytona Beach, he was lucky to find a decent home—and one that he could afford. An extreme shortage of safe and affordable housing across Appalachia leaves the region’s rapidly increasing elderly population with few options other than poorly-insulated, decrepit homes that are difficult to repair and just plain unsafe.
Doug now lives in Main Cross Apartments, one of the area’s few affordable senior housing complexes. With financing from Fahe, a Kentucky based CDFI, Main Cross is undergoing extensive renovations, including energy efficiency retrofits, that will greatly improve 51 of its elderly rental units. When finished, these energy efficient apartments will be even more affordable for its tenants.
Lisa Green, property manager of Main Cross for four years, has developed a strong relationship with many renters. “It’s important that we’re here and that seniors have a place they can afford,” she said. “Most came from other apartments that they couldn’t afford. Fahe’s financing enables us to offer them the same quality residences that more expensive places do, but at rents that are realistic for limited incomes.”
Projects like this earned Fahe a $2.75 million award from the Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance in 2009. The CDFI, which works to reduce systematic poverty in Central Appalachia by improving housing and creating economic opportunity, received its NEXT Award to launch an innovative equity fund that uses the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC), a resource historically underused in Central Appalachia.
“Our LIHTC program is, in part, funding the Main Cross retrofit, which directly links the project to our NEXT Award” said Jim King, Fahe CEO & President. “This is just one of the many ways NEXT has helped us innovate how we provide housing and community development in one of the nation’s most difficult areas. Our goal is to produce 8,000 units of housing annually in Appalachia by 2015, which will include senior housing for more people like Doug.”