FOREST CITY | The Forest City Council is looking to accommodate and attract low- and moderate-income families interested in building or renting property within the city.

On Monday, Sept. 18, the council unanimously approved two programs, or phases, to a long-term city housing project that uses funds the Prairie View Tax Increment Financing District in eastern Forest City for low- and moderate-income options.

“[The fund’s] just been building and building and building and now we have some money to use,” said Barbara Smith, Forest City administrator/clerk.

The fund will total $250,000 by the end of 2017, and the programs approved by the city council will use $130,000.

Smith said a housing commission was created about three months ago to determine what the best use of the funds is for the community. The commission, which consists of eight individuals, is looking at six programs, or phases, total that it’ll roll out “a couple at a time.”

The first program will be offered for new construction of owner-occupied single-family units. It is limited to five houses with funding up to $20,000 per property.

“This would be for somebody who comes to us and wants to build a new home,” she said.

The terms for the funding, Smith explained, is a $10,000 forgivable loan over five years of occupancy and a $10,000 loan at zero percent for 10 years with no penalty for early payoff. However, the funding must be through MBT or Titonka Savings Bank.

The second program will be a new resident rental incentive with a limit of 10 rentals. The program assists individuals with up to 25 percent of their monthly rent for one year, but not to exceed $3,000 per year.

“We have a big need for rental housing in town,” Smith said.

To qualify for the program, individuals must move to Forest City and be employed full-time at a Forest City business and have a household income at or below 80 percent of the Winnebago County median include. Individuals who live in a federally subsidized property will not qualify.

Smith said the housing commission and city council are also looking at what can be done to help developers wishing to build low- and moderate-income housing and incentives for local contractors who rehabilitate properties.

“We want to help people move to town,” she said.

Applications for new construction and rental programs will not be accepted until Oct. 15, Smith said.

For questions about the programs, call Forest City Hall at 641-585-3574.

Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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