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Six Affordable Housing Units Open in Columbia

Six new houses opened Thursday along Lynn Street in central Columbia for low-income residents. The houses have three beds, two baths and include solar panels to lower energy costs.

Each home cost $128,000 to build with an additional $50,000 for infrastructure. However, subsidies allow the units to be sold for $100,000. Columbia Housing Program Supervisor Randy Cole said all six homes already have buyers.

The project was first proposed by Cole to members of the City Council in August of 2015. Cole says affordable housing is key to the quality of life for Columbia’s low-income residents.

“Home ownership is the main way that a lot of families in our country are able to have social and economic mobility. It provides households the opportunity to build wealth and provides them economic stability,” Cole said.

Habitat for Humanity worked with another non-profit organization and a local contractor to build the houses. Executive Director Bill View says the goal is to keep the houses low-cost and high-quality.

“We feel like there is a desperate need for affordable housing. Our main mission is to provide decent affordable housing for no profit in building the house. I don’t know of any other organization that lets you buy a house at no-profit,” View said.

The affordable housing units are the first to be a part of the Columbia Community Land Trust, a non-profit organization that owns the land and will provide assistance to the new homeowners.

The organization has plans to develop more affordable housing units across Columbia. Development is set to begin on two vacant lots on Third Avenue in late summer and a proposal for a land purchase on North Eighth Street will go before the city council on May 7.