City unveils new affordable housing - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

City unveils new affordable housing

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Affordable housing isn't what it used to be and the City of Jackson is working to change that image.

Tuesday an open house was held in Midtown at the intersection of Bell and Lamar Streets to unveil a new way of living for working families.

Dozens of Midtown residents and Jackson City officials took a tour of a beautifully decorated 1,600 square foot brick two story unit

It has three bedrooms and two baths and is Mississippi's first solar power assisted affordable housing.

There are eight energy efficient duplexes available to approved working families.

"This is a wonderful experience for me and my children. We are so blessed to have this," said 33 year old Shaheera Smith.

The mother of four wiped away tears after her visiting the home with her 10 year old son Quavon.

The sales person and her family will move into one of the Lamar Street units.

"Right now we're coming actually from a shelter. Me and my kids are coming form a shelter, and we are moving here, and we just thank God for the opportunity. It's a beautiful place, very beautiful," added Smith.

The Jackson Housing Authority has worked for five years on the nearly $6 million dollar Midtown project.

They also offer home ownership counseling and try to empower and educate residents.

Solar panels were used in the design to help keep energy costs low.

"The residents will receive benefits in their utility usage and their utility costs. We have solar generated power. We have Smart meters. They are energy efficient. They're durable..We're trying to teach them not only how to live in a unit where you maintain what's there but also to gain some wealth, put back some money. So we hope that they save about 20 to 30% on their utility bills and that's money that they can put back into their family's pocket," said Jackson Housing Authority Executive Director Sheila Jackson.

Midtown Partners see the units as a wonderful addition to the area.

Midtown Partners Director of Community Outreach, Monica Cannon, said the transformation from the old tall gray cinder block multi-family structures will give new residents a sense of pride.

"It's a different look. It's a different feel and more importantly it's a signal for the community to the families moving into the home that because my house may be affordable doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be of low quality," said Cannon.

Twenty two pre-approved working families will be move into these affordable homes by the end of the week.

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