Lacombe provides $200,000 in down payment assistance for affordable housing

The City of Lacombe has made another investment in affordable housing.

The City of Lacombe has made another investment in affordable housing.

Council recently came to an agreement with Browood Developments to provide nearly $200,000 in down payment assistance to qualified applicants.

The initiative was recommended by the community’s Affordable Housing Steering Committee and will see 14 new affordable homes built — a four-plex and 10 units in a larger condominium project.

Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie said affordable housing was reinforced in a needs assessment done last year. A pool of money was available through a provincial grant earmarked for affordable housing that the city received some time ago. A steering committee was set up to work with developers and organizations such as Habitat for Humanity to fill in some of the local housing gaps.

“This project fits in perfectly with the initiative of affordable housing,” said Christie.

Browood Developments, which will be working with Broder Homes, submitted 33 potential affordable home candidates for the steering committee’s assessment. The committee whittled those down to 14, which will be built in the next two years.

The latest funding help, which comes from a provincial grant for housing the city lined up years ago, is aimed at those who have the income to support mortgage payments but are struggling to bankroll the initial down payment.

Successful applicants must have a before-tax family income of $45,000 to $90,000 and net assets of less than $50,000. They must have a credit score above 625 and meet certain debt servicing thresholds.

Under the financial plan, the money will be held in trust until successful applicants close their home deals. Should the home be sold within five years, 100 per cent of the down payment must be returned so it can be used for other home buyers.

A pro-rated portion must be returned in later years depending on how long the house has been owned.

The city has been taking an active role in tackling affordable housing. Last month, Lacombe donated $480,000 to cover the cost of land and about one-third of construction costs for a pair of duplexes being built by Habitat for Humanity Red Deer Region Society.

The three-bedroom, two-storey units are being built with Ridgestone Homes in the Shepherd Heights area and will be ready in the summer 2017. Two other Habitat for Humanity duplexes are nearing completion in the MacKenzie Ranch area of Lacombe.