Affordable housing

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

A 3-year-old United Way study found that 91 percent of Cape Girardeau's housing units are occupied and that the $400 average monthly rent in the city is beyond the means of most low- to moderate-income families.

Part of the problem is that the city lost low-income housing to flooding in 1993 and 1995. Most new housing is not affordable for families in these income categories.

The exceptions are the Fort Hope apartment complex and the new Napa Ridge complex under construction. The intent of both is to provide low-income families with affordable, well-maintained housing that is largely free of crime.

Housing grants are available based on income guidelines. But the federal voucher program run by the East Missouri Action Agency has a two-year waiting list.

Housing rehabilitation grants are another means available to those having trouble finding affordable housing. The Cape Area Habitat for Humanity also is doing its part, building 18 houses since 1987.

The United Way of Southeast Missouri and the Community Caring Council have hired a housing assistance coordinator to help with the problem. It's a good start.

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