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GARDNER, Kan. —The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will soon consider allocating $1million to create more affordable housing options in the southern portion of the county. 

Next Thursday the BOCC will consider allocating $1million in HOME funds to support a Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) development in Gardner. 

Unlike the $1million loan approved by the board for an affordable housing project in Shawnee, funding for this project will come from the federal government. 

HOME funds are federal dollars awarded to the county from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) earmarked to create affordable housing options for low-income residents. 

Oikos Development Corporation (ODC), a Kansas City-based nonprofit, is requesting funds to build the Prairiebrooke Townhomes complex at West 174th and Killcreek Road. 

Proposed location for Prairiebrooke Townhomes.

Prairiebrooke would consist of 20, 4-plex and duplex-style townhomes containing 76 units. Sixty of the proposed townhomes will be low income two and three bedroom units for households earning below 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Six of the units will be HOME assisted units for families earning below 50% AMI and include four two-bedroom and two three-bedroom townhomes. The remaining units will be market rate townhomes. 

Rendering of proposed townhomes

“What is unique about this project, this is a 30-year affordability requirement on this project. Whereas most tax-credit projects are 15 years, then they often switch over to market rate, ”Jay Leipzig, director of planning, housing and community development, said.  

According to county documents, the current AMI in Johnson County is approximately $58,080 for a family of four. Leipzig estimates the rent for households earning below 60% AMI will be approximately $1,500 a month. 

HUD sets the maximum rent rate for households earning below 50% AMI. The maximum HUD HOME-assisted rent rate is the highest rate allowed for people making below 50% AMI.

According to a Subsidy Layering Analysis provided by  M & L Associates, maximum monthly rent in Johnson County for HOME supported units is approximately $1,090 for a two-bedroom unit and $1,258 for a three-bedroom unit.

The developer is proposing a monthly rental rate of $545 and $740 for two-bedroom units and $861 for a three-bedroom unit. 

The total cost of the project is estimated at $15.9million. The developer plans to use roughly $8million in LIHTC proceeds and approximately $7.5million in construction loans in addition to the $1million in HOME funds requested from the county. 

The BOCC is scheduled to vote on the issuance of HOME funds during the next regular board meeting on Thursday, Nov.17.