HRA to construct two new homes in Paynesville

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 5/16/01.

Paynesville has been plagued by a housing shortage for several years. In the past year, two housing developments have been annexed into the city. The Stearns County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) announced last week Paynesville will be receiving two three-bedroom duplexes for medium income families this summer.

Bob Swanberg of the Stearns County Housing and Redevelop-ment Authority (HRA), explained to the Paynesville City Council on Wednesday night that HRA is proposing to construct two duplex homes for rent in Paynesville through the Heading for Home (H4H) program.

The program was developed by the HRA to provide housing opportunities to a shifting market in greater Stearns County. Four other communities will also be receiving rental homes.

The H4H program provides new families with affordable rental housing until they reach a decision whether to continue renting or to purchase a home in town, Swanberg said. The duplexes will be exclusively rental properties.

If a family decides to purchase a home in town, HRA has other programs to assist them in purchasing one. One program, for instance, is for first time home buyers.

The rental homes earmarked for Paynesville will be three-bedroom homes for medium income families (those earning approximately $44,000 a year).

In order for the homes to cash flow, HRA would have to charge $1,000 for rent. However, the Stearns County Commissioners, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, city of Paynesville, and HRA are contributing toward the project, enabling HRA to charge lower rent on the homes, Swanberg told the council.

A three-bedroom home will cost $685 in rent. The duplexes planned for Paynesville each have more than 1,400 square feet of space.

Two lots in Project 55, the new residential housing development south of Highway 55, have been selected for the H4H program. Work would start on the new homes this summer, Swanberg said.

HRA will let employers know when the homes are ready for rent and they can inform new employees of their availability, he added.

Other communities receiving H4H homes are Brooten, Sauk Centre, Melrose, and Albany. Four two-bedroom homes will be con- structed in Brooten on land donated by the city.

HRA will own and manage all of the rental units.

The first set of rental homes are being considered a test market to see how the program goes over in the communities.

Swanberg said they hope to build more in the future.

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