The demand for more affordable housing is not exclusive to Morehouse Parish.
“It's all over the place,” says Steve Perry, a local jewelry store owner and developer of what will be about 50 new three- and four-bedroom homes in Hill View Homes, a planned subdivision on Daisy Street in Bastrop.
Perry said he recently was involved with building identical kinds of one-story, energy-efficient homes in Arkansas, as well as in Monroe where he said there were 400 applications submitted soon after the 39 homes were finished.
“The interest is just unbelievable,” he said.
Land has been cleared on 14 acres for the new local subdivision, which will mark the first one in Bastrop in more than three years. Construction begins next week.
They are being built by Shreveport-based River City Builders and could be finished in about 10 months.
“I have nothing but accolades about this, there's always room for more affordable housing,” said Bastrop Mayor Betty Alford-Olive.
The mayor said she was especially pleased that the homes would be going up in a well-established neighborhood that should welcome some revitalization.
Individual homes' costs will vary slightly, but on average will run about $550 per month. Size will range between 1,100 square feet and 1,400 square feet on quarter-acre sized lots.
A critical part of the development was the ability for the developer to gain about $5.8 million in tax credits from a federal low-cost housing initiative run through the state.
Perry said it took more than a year for him to apply, then gain approval, then close on the tax credits.
Designs for the homes follow closely – but not officially meet – with stringent energy efficient standards set by the state in its green housing initiative.
From water, to lighting, to insulation, to electricity, the advantages for tenants – in addition to mitigating unneeded damage to the environment – will be evident in low utility charges, Perry predicted.
He said the tax credit program is head and shoulders better than other similar programs in that the developer is married to the subdivision for 15 years.
“With this kind the developer is held accountable,” which helps the homeowner, Perry said.