New apartment development offers affordable housing for seniors

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -  A new apartment complex in Biloxi will soon provide affordable housing for senior citizens.

A Mississippi developer is building Bellemont Gardens, a 60 unit, income-based complex that's aimed at the over-55 market.

Bellemont Gardens is an attractive complex of single story, two-bedroom, two-bath apartment homes off Motsie Road near Cedar Lake and Popp's Ferry roads.

The developer benefits from tax credit incentives to build such a project. Seniors desperate for affordable homes will benefit from the finished development.

"This is Bellemont Gardens off Motsie Road," said Lisa Pittman, as she gave a tour of the property,

"We've got 60 units and they're approximately a thousand square feet each."

They're taking applications for these new apartment homes and the first residents will be moving in in about two weeks.

"Come on in," she said, leading visitors on a tour of the units, "This is a two bedroom, two bath, approximately a thousand square feet."

The new units, complete with amenities like washers and driers, look like conventional apartments. The only difference is you must be over 55 and meet income requirements.

For instance, the annual income limit for a single senior would be a little under $22,000 a year. Tax credits require the units be affordable.

"What we do is sell the credits to investors and they in turn put the money into the properties so that we can actually have a lower mortgage, and that way we can have lower rents also," Pittman explained.

"I mean the need is just really... we just have a desperate need in Harrison County," said Mag Holland with the RSVP program and Human Resources in Harrison County.

Holland and Janice Green work with seniors through the county's human resource agency.  They say the post-Katrina market has a definite void in affordable housing for the elderly.

"Many of our clients were in apartments and then they had to go to the FEMA trailers. And of course now the FEMA trailers are no longer available to them, so we're trying to transition them to permanent housing," Janice Green said.

"We had seniors who were living in apartments. Then after Katrina, because of the cost of repairs and insurance, their rent doubled and so they could no longer, on fixed incomes, could no longer afford those houses," Holland said.

That's exactly the need developments like Bellemont Gardens are designed to help meet.

"It's going to be a great, great community.  I can't say that enough," Pittman said.

Bellemont Gardens is now taking applications.  They're open to families, provided one person is over age 55 and meets the income requirements.

You can reach the apartment complex for more information at (228) 392-3350.

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