New Affordable Housing Project Coming to Port St. Joe

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PORT ST. JOE-- Port St. Joe will be the new home of a $7 million affordable housing project.

The project is one of four here in Florida to receive partial funding from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Gulf County officials said the approval has been several years in the making.

Plans for the new affordable housing project call for 50 townhouse style units on a 40 acre parcel off Clifford Sims Drive. Gulf County Commissioner tan smiley says the town is in great need of affordable housing.

"Small St. Joe is kinda hurting and trying to get jobs in it's hard to bring jobs to St. Joe when you don't have somewhere decent for people to move into," said Gulf County Commissioner Tan Smiley.

The Paces Foundation is behind the project. It secured a $5.5 million dollar loan from Housing and Urban Development, through the state of Florida. The foundation plans to finance another $1.5 million to complete the project.

"The state recognized that tax credits would not be sufficient, so they created this year a pool of around 20 million dollars of low interest rate money," said Paces Foundation founder, Mark du Mas.

The affordable housing is expected to break ground in the next six months. Smiley said it should provide an economic boost for the city.

"It's gonna touch all your contractors, workers, it's gonna touch all your restaurants, this is something that's gonna touch the whole St. Joe," said Smiley.

And the tax credits will give residents an affordable living alternative. "It ends up translating into a rent of around $450 to $650 per month," said du Mas.

Paces Foundation representatives are hosting a town hall meeting Friday evening at Port St. Joe City Hall. Residents can look at the project's plans and give their opinions.