Part of the original plan for Sidney Torres’ mixed-use development at the Lafitte Greenway included affordable housing units. But now instead of those 14 affordable apartments, Mid-City Messenger reports a proposal would replace the units with a "rotating fund" that would help low-income residents buy homes elsewhere in Mid-City.
Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell floated the proposal at City Council this week, which would would set aside $640,000 in funds. According to Mid-City Messenger:
The money would be given to 14 first-time homebuyers who make between 60 percent and 80 percent of the area’s median income for a soft second mortgage, as a long-term loan. That averages to a $46,000 grant per family ... If the house is sold, the money would be paid back and put back into the fund for other families to use, thereby creating the "revolving" aspect of the grant.
The development originally including the units in order to qualify "development bonuses" that award extra density in exchange for an affordable housing provision, and Cantrell says this loan idea would also cause the project to qualify for a density waiver.
Not everyone is thrilled with the idea, with council members and Mid-City residents questioning if the loan is really a fair trade for affordable units.
The council ultimately voted 5-2 to move the proposal forward, but the issue is set to come up before a second vote in the next month.