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Keystone Development to use state grant for Baker Street Apartments project

Gary B. Gray • Updated Dec 21, 2016 at 9:19 AM

Keystone Development Inc. will move forward with the second phase of construction on an affordable housing project for former foster children and homeless veterans, thanks to an additional $500,000 in grant funding received Tuesday from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.

Keystone will use the money from a THDA Housing Trust Fund grant to complete Phase 2 of its Baker Street Apartments project near downtown Johnson City.

When completed, the development will provide 24 supportive housing units for both individuals and families. The grant was approved by the THDA Board of Directors at its November meeting.

"Keystone Development is excited to be awarded funds from THDA for the second phase of our Baker Street Project focused on serving low income homeless youth aging out of foster care and elderly adults who are able to live independently," Keystone Development Inc. President and Johnson City Housing Authority Executive Director Richard McClain said Tuesday from the Memorial Park Community Center.

THDA previously awarded Keystone a $500,000 HTF grant in 2015 to help get the first phase of the apartment's construction underway.

"We are pleased to continue supporting innovative projects like this that seek to fill a growing need in our communities," THDA Executive Director Ralph M. Perrey said.

The pair of THDA grants are being matched with funding from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, Bank of Tennessee and the Johnson City Housing Authority.

Six of the apartments built in the first phase of construction are designated for young adults ages 18-24 who have aged out of the state's foster care system. The remaining 18 units will be used to house homeless veterans participating in the Mountain Home Veterans Affairs Hospital's HUD-VASH voucher program, as well as the elderly and those with disabilities.

Former foster children living at Baker Street will have access to supportive services provided by Youth Villages and the Tennessee Department of Social Services. Mountain Home VA will provide support for veterans residing in the apartments.

Keystone Development bought the property in early 2015 and removed four blighted houses before beginning construction on Phase 1 in early 2016.

The Baker Street project is one of three similar developments in the state that have received Housing Trust Fund grant funding from THDA.

The Housing Trust Fund was created by the THDA Board of Directors to provide financial support for innovative, affordable initiatives that serve the housing needs of Tennessee’s most vulnerable residents.

Funding for the Housing Trust Fund comes entirely from earnings generated through THDA’s Single Family Mortgage program. HTF grants are awarded through a competitive application process. 

The Johnson City Housing Authority provides public housing opportunities at eight different locations for eligible Johnson City families and for those who are elderly and disabled. Rent is determined by income.

For more information, contact the JCHA at 232-4784 or visit www.jchousing.org/get-housing/public-housing.

Email Gary Gray at [email protected]. Like Gary B. Gray on Facebook at www.facebook.com/garybgrayjcp. Follow him on Twitter @ggrayjcpress.

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