Monroe Housing and Choosing Independence unveil flagship affordable housing program

Council member Carday Marshall was “instrumental” in the progress of the project, according to the developer
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 7:29 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Monroe Housing data shows the majority of Monroe residents are renters. The city’s goal is to change those stats.

An empty lot in south Monroe will soon become Plum Street Estates.

“And I was wondering, like, how they’re going to fit,” mused Dierrayel Jones.

The 12-year-old and her family watched the city’s groundbreaking ceremony from the home they own just across the street. Jones thinks the concept will upgrade the area.

“It’s going to be cute and pretty. People just trash the community, I hope they don’t trash that,” Jones said.

The developer, Choosing Independence, displayed the 2, 3, and 4 bedroom smart homes on an easel. They estimate the homes will cost between $120,000 and $175,000. The city said they could start out even more affordable, such as $85,000.

For now, the process starts with the City of Monroe’s Home in Monroe program.

“We work with you to work on your credit, for you to understand what it is to become a homeowner and actually go through the process of securing a homebuyer certificate that’s HUD-certified,” Monroe Planning and Urban Development Department director Ellen Hill explained.

The program gets potential homeowners ready for the next step, getting a mortgage with Choosing Independence.

“So wherever you are, that’s where we’ll start from. It really goes by more of your job history, and not only that but your ability and record of you paying your rent,” said Choosing Independence Regional Director David Wooley.

The developer’s goal is to help revitalize the community from the inside out; from building in life insurance into the mortgage to helping attract businesses and jobs.

“So that the money in our districts, in districts 3, 4, and 5 will remain in our communities. So, once you start to put businesses like grocery stores and laundry mats and cleaners, I remember when we had all of these things once upon a time, and now as I drive through and see all the abandoned buildings and see all the abandoned businesses, the thought of having this come back to our community is just so invigorating,” said Councilmember Juanita Woods.

Monroe housing says construction on the homes should begin in spring of next year. The city and developer expect to do more projects like this in south Monroe.

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