First new affordable housing in 30 years coming to Donalsonville - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

First new affordable housing in 30 years coming to Donalsonville

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

DONALSONVILLE, GA (WALB) – Some people in Donalsonville have had enough with soaring home rental prices.

So they decided to do something about it.

The Seminole County Partnership Development teamed up with a housing developer to provide the first affordable housing complex there in 30 years.

But organizers say they want to make sure the right people move into the development. They hope those tenants will eventually purchase their units down the road.

Only one affordable housing complex exists in Donalsonville. But it will soon have some company.

"Donalsonville is a community that hasn't had affordable housing in nearly 30 years. We decided that we were going to change that," says Joyce Barr, the founder of Partnership Housing Affordable to Society Everywhere, or PHASE.

Barr teamed up with the Seminole County Partnership Development to break ground on the 5.1 million dollar Friendship Crossings. The 40-unit multifamily development is modeled after an affordable housing complex in Bainbridge and will allow lease to own options.

"The community really wants to have a project where the tenants can move into home ownership, they really don't want to see a development where it would just be straight up rental forever and ever, turning into what we don't like to term a "project". "

The developers and city leaders want to avoid the "project" stigma by carefully selecting tenants.

"They will have to do an application and then they will be screened to see if they qualify, explains Annie Ruth Calloway, a Donalsonville City Council member. "We're going to have tight management. Someone to manage real, real good. And we expect them to abide by the rules."

But potential home buyers will have to wait out the 15 year leasing compliance period before purchasing.

"If they are a long-standing tenant then of course rent paid during that time frame will be credited as equity towards a purchase plan."

And for many of those tenants, purchasing a unit in Friendship Crossings will fulfill a dream that may have otherwise been impossible.

During the lease purchase period, PHASE will conduct home ownership classes and home buyer workshops for families interested in buying their unit. The new Friendship Crossings is slated for completion by the end of the year with pre-leasing beginning in August.

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