An informational/input gathering meeting is slated for Thursday, Sept. 14 in Powell by the Wyoming Housing Network to discuss a potential affordable housing project in the city.
The Wyoming Housing Network (WHN), a nonprofit that says it focuses on “the creation and preservation of affordable housing throughout the state,” currently owns the Ironwood Apartments on East Seventh Street in Powell. The meeting, scheduled for 6-7 p.m. at The Commons in downtown Powell, would discuss the possibility of the WHN constructing another affordable housing structure. The tentative proposal is for a new, 12-unit building located near Absaroka Street and Seventh Street.
“The Ironwood Apartments is one of our projects we developed a couple of years ago, and we’ve had some good success there,” said WHN Real Estate Development Director Jim Hatfield. “We think there is still some unmet demand for affordable housing in Powell, and we’re in the process of proposing a new project, which would be pretty similar to the Ironwood Apartments.”
The WHN is now in the process of submitting an application to the Wyoming Community Development Authority (WCDA), the entity that controls all of the federal housing programs in the state. Programs include the tax credit program, the HOME funds program and the National Housing Trust Fund. The WHN is putting together the application for tax credits with the WCDA.
“In advance of filing an application, we want to have a community meeting and sit down with people who might be interested,” Hatfield said. “We’re looking for people who stand up and support affordable housing in the community to get their feedback, whether they know of families who need three-bedroom apartments, or if they think there is a need for senior housing.”
Alternatively, there may be residents who are opposed to another affordable housing project in Powell, and Hatfield said the WHN wants that feedback as well.
“It’s really just a kind of an open dialogue with the community that we would like to have,” he explained. “We want to take some feedback in from them and factor that into our design, our application and our overall business plan.”
Hatfield reiterated the WHN is still very early in the planning process. A preliminary site plan has yet to be submitted for approval, and there are a number of moving parts that need to be addressed, from planning and zoning to securing funding for the project.
“We have a lot of work to do, and we are at the very beginning stages of the process,” Hatfield said. “So we just want to put an invitation out there to get folks to come in and offer feedback. We’ll bring a copy of our preliminary site plan and go from there.”
The WHN has 11 affordable housing projects located throughout the state, and all have been well-received by their communities, according to Hatfield.
“We are here to serve the state,” he said. “If people think there’s a need for senior housing, we’re happy to listen to them and take it into consideration. The other piece would be to talk about the project itself. At this point, it’s fairly preliminary.”