New low-income apartment complex coming to Powell

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The Wyoming Community Development Authority (WCDA) is helping fund a new low-income apartment complex on Powell’s north edge.

The WCDA announced earlier this month that it’s awarded $3,230,881 worth of federal tax credits and grants to the Wyoming Housing Network to construct the Powell Court Apartments.

The 12-unit complex will be located on Absaroka Street, north of its intersection with Seventh Street.

When complete, the project will bring the total number of complexes financed through the WCDA in Powell to five, with a total of 180 units. That number includes seniors-only housing.

Funding for the Powell Court Apartments will come from the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program and Home Investment Partnerships Program.

John Batey, director of affordable housing development for the WCDA, said the association considers a number of factors in choosing its awardees, including the need for housing in the area of the project and how well the project would meet that need.

A total of 10 organizations sought funding for projects around the state; the WCDA awarded a total of $19.6 million worth of tax credit equity and grant dollars to four affordable housing projects. The other apartment complexes are in Mills, Douglas and Evanston.

Representatives from the Wyoming Housing Network, a nonprofit group, held a public meeting in Powell in September 2017 to gather input on their proposed project. At the time, existing apartment owners raised concerns how the project would impact the rental market; the landlords said they were having trouble filling their vacancies.

Jim Grenfell, executive director of the Wyoming House Network, said last week that the project will have an impact on the local rental market. But, he said, low-income tenants will “have a nice, safe place to live.”

Grenfell said the WHN hired an outside consultant to do a market study to determine the area’s need for affordable housing.

Powell Economic Partnership Executive Director Christine Bekes had also raised some concerns about the project during the 2017 meeting. Speaking lask week, Bekes said PEP doesn’t oppose low-income housing, if needed. However,  she said the developers lacked transparency in pursuing the project; Wyoming Housing Network refused to provide the market study it did on area need.

Bekes added that Powell is growing and more housing is needed. So, the overall impacts of more affordable housing on the community are hard to determine without more data.

“We’ll see what happens as this rolls out,” Bekes said.

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