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Little Rock officials break ground on site of affordable housing project

City officials break ground on future site of affordable housing project
Maggie Ryan
Little Rock Public Radio
City officials break ground on future site of affordable housing project in southwest Little Rock on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023.

City officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for an affordable housing project in Ward 6 of Little Rock Tuesday.

This project is part of Mayor Frank Scott Jr.’s initiative to create more affordable homes. Scott said he especially wants to bring homeownership within reach of communities south of Interstate 630 and east of I-30. He said projects like this will help close racial wealth gaps in Little Rock.

Scott said he wants to build at least 100 “truly affordable” homes in Little Rock.

Wanda Merritt directs the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development field office in Little Rock. She said access to affordable housing is critical to strengthening communities.

“Affordability is not a handout, it’s a necessity," she told the crowd. “There are families that need that leg up so they can become more stable citizens of this community."

She also spoke about the benefits that owning a home has for children. She says it provides stability that is critical for the well-being of kids.

Andrea Lewis, who represents Ward 6 on the Little Rock City Board of Directors, said access to affordable housing is linked to environmental benefits for families and communities.

“Everyone needs and deserves a safe and stable place to call home,” Lewis said. “Having stable and affordable housing is essential to our mental and physical health overall.”

There are three homes in development as part of the ongoing project. Kevin Howard, the city’s director of Housing and Neighborhood Programs, said they will be sold starting at prices of $189,000 to eligible families. A $20,000 subsidy will be available to low-to-moderate income families looking to purchase.

Maggie Ryan is a reporter and local host of All Things Considered for Little Rock Public Radio.