The Illinois Housing Development Authority has applied federal stimulus funds, and in many cases low-income housing tax credits, to finance the construction of almost 2,500 affordable rental homes in the state. So far, the agency notes, the initiative has created about 3,000 jobs.
One of the newest projects in the IHDA lineup, announced this week, is Lexington Farms, a subdivision in Jerseyville, Illinois, that will include 32 single-family homes, each with three bedrooms, two baths, an attached two-car garage, and about 1,230 sq. ft. of interior space.
The homes will rent for $590 a month and are specifically intended for families earning 60% or less of the area median income. For a family of four, the income cap would be $40,980. Median family income in Jerseyville, a rural suburb of St. Louis, is about 36% lower than for the median for the rest of Illinois. Approximately one-third of all families in Jerseyville earn less than $25,000 per year.
IHDA says that the subdivision also will offer families who qualify financially the option to purchase their homes through a rent-to-own program.
Aiming for zero
The performance goal for the homes is as ambitious as the project’s affordability target. The developer, Capstone Development Group, has designed the houses with a number of energy efficiency and renewable-energy features that are expected to keep annual energy costs near zero for each house. Exterior walls will be built to R-21 and attics to R-49, with a high degree of airtightness throughout, Capstone says.
The houses will be equipped with solar power and wind power systems (no word yet on their power capacity), and will feature other green amenities such as water-saving fixtures and irrigation systems, low-VOC finishes, CFL lighting, and extensive use of recycled materials.
Other components of the subdivision, including its system of streetlights and its community center, also will be powered by renewable-energy sources.
Incentives to go green
For affordable-housing developers in Illinois who want federal low-income housing tax credits, IHDA imposes several green-development mandates, including water-conservation measures, the use of Energy Star appliances, native and draught-tolerant vegetation in landscaping schemes, and information for each home’s occupants on how to maintain its green features. The agency awards higher tax-credit scores to developers who include in their proposals energy conservation features such as solar power and wind power. The federal tax credits applied to Lexington Farms were a result of a special allocation for counties hit by severe flooding and generated an additional $6.7 million in private equity for the project, IHDA says.
The agency touts past successes with its green-construction initiative, including Wingate Manor, an affordable-housing development for seniors in Shiloh that earned the Multifamily Affordable Award in May at the National Association of Home Builders National Green Building Conference, in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Groundbreaking at Lexington Farms took place on Tuesday. The first homes are scheduled to be completed and available for leasing before the end of the year, Capstone says.