Q: How long has this initiative been in the works?
A: The project started four years ago, when we applied to MHDC for the first time with this project. We’ve known affordable housing in St. Joe to be a challenge, especially among seniors, with the average cost of rent being $607 a month. In fact, 68.5% of the population at poverty level in St. Joseph are renters. With rent increasing every year, traditional housing is not sustainable or reasonable, so we knew this was a project we needed to establish.
Q: Why are St. Joseph seniors vulnerable to homelessness?
A: Demographically speaking, we as a nation are only getting older. The median age is increasing year by year, with 2018 hitting a record high of 38 years. The housing market crash in 2008-2009 hit St. Joseph pretty hard. As a result, most people in the middle class are still stuck in their wages with an average income of $32,663, while housing costs continue to increase. Consequently, the middle class is being polarized, falling into upper- or lower-class structures. Altogether, we have a lot of people who can’t afford housing.
The accessibility is also an issue for seniors, especially for those with mobility issues and challenges. It limits their access to certain housing.
Q: How will this impact St. Joseph and the community?
A: Being able to provide safe, quality, affordable housing to St. Joseph seniors will have a stabilizing impact on everyone. It will get the seniors the affordable housing they need but, in turn, will stabilize the immediate families of the seniors. Without affordable housing, seniors become homeless, or there is a strain on the immediate family. Neither one of those outcomes is good- we end up helping in both directions with this project.
Moreover, Saint Charles Place will be a relief to the community because our services will be able to reach a greater number of people. After the Salvation Army closed their doors for renovation in 2018 and announced they would be serving families only, the homeless population was at a loss of other options.
Q: What can we expect of the building process?
A: The dirt work started this week. As for the vertical building, the process will start when the dirt work is finished and will take anywhere from 9-12 months to complete. The units themselves are single story, ground-level entry buildings, with five to eight units per building and one building acting as a club house.
Q: Who is eligible?
A: Saint Charles Place units are open for people at or below 30-60% area median income. Most of the units are two bedrooms and we are allowing single individuals in the two bedrooms, as well. Rent ranges from $185.00 to $550.00 a month, depending on your income. As we get closer to completion, we’ll announce more information regarding how to apply for a unit. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, if you have questions, contact Jarrod Sanderson at 816-659-8227 or email@example.com