Macoupin Housing Services cuts ribbons

Macoupin Housing Services cuts ribbons

Representatives from Macoupin Housing Services (MHS) and the Macoupin County Housing Authority (MCHA) cut the ribbons on three tax credit housing developments in the county at ceremonies held Sept. 23.

Home tours were available to area residents and local dignitaries at the 14 homes built in Staunton, nine in Bunker Hill and 15 in Gillespie. The homes were built through a low-income housing tax credit created under the 1986 Tax Reform Act. It gives incentives for the use of private equity in the development of affordable housing aimed at low-income Americans. The program is administered at the state level through the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), which receives a fixed allocation of credits based on population.

The homes have to meet strict requirements with regard to construction standards and energy efficiency.

“Without a doubt, these are some of the best built homes in the state,” said Mike Morrissey, president of Morrissey Construction. “When you go through IHDA, the code requirements have a point system you have to go through in order to get their funding. To get those points, the energy efficiency is probably the best; you won’t go to a market rate house and see them built to this kind of energy efficiency.”

Architect John Cronin of #9 Design explained that, as part of the application process, the development had to commit to stringent standards for energy efficiency. “The standards are above and beyond the state of Illinois energy efficiency code. It’s not just the insulation, it’s Energy Star appliances, Energy Star roof shingles and light fixtures. There’s high efficiency electrical. We really pride ourselves on that.”

Bob Fulton of MHA, who is a former teacher, principal and district superintendent, explained the benefits of having these homes in the county. “It’s going to be good for the schools. Schools get money by the kids who are in the seats. That being said, these houses are going to attract younger families who are going to have kids who are going to through our school districts.”

“This is not housing as we used to know it. These are homes, not projects,” Fulton explained. “It’s good for the community. It’s good for the schools. People will spend their money in these communities. It’s a tax base to provide services. I can’t think of one negative. I think it will attract young professionals.”

Roger Kratochvil of MHA, who is also a former school administrator, explained that getting the funding was not easy. “What happens so often is too much of the money doesn’t get south of I-80.”

“Anybody who wants to come out and take a look at these houses, whether they’re in Bunker Hill, Staunton or Gillespie, can attest to the beauty of them and the addition to the neighborhoods,” said Kratochvil, adding, “Macoupin County Housing Authority, with Peg Barkley, does a wonderful job of policing the agency making sure everyone is informed. That’s where this all started. For us to be able to do this for these communities is a big plus.”

According to Barkley, about half of the 38 homes have been filled. There are two remaining in Staunton, five in Bunker Hill and 12 are available in Gillespie.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to provide these homes and to receive the funding through IHDA. We hope people apply,” said Barkley.

The developments consist of two, three and four bedroom homes. Handicap-accessible homes are available. According to Barkley, all homes are considered handicapped visitable.

The homes will be rented through Macoupin Homes for 15 years and will then become available for purchase. MCHA is a certified credit counseling agency and will strive to prepare tenants for home ownership with the goal of qualifying them for a standard home mortgage.

Application requirements include a steady income, criminal background check and rent history. Those interested in applying can call Macoupin Housing Services at (217) 854-5393.

Macoupin Homes ED 2