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franklin county times

Purvis: Focused vision essential in plan for affordable housing

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
May 7, 2001
Despite recommendations that manufactured housing could spark growth in some low income, low population areas of Meridian, a local physician believes there are better ways to build a tax base.
Dr. Ronnye Purvis said he's been involved with several programs around the state, including in Jackson, that combine private investment with government funding to make affordable housing a reality. Purvis said he believes a similar program could also work in Meridian, serving as an alternative to new subdivisions of house trailers.
Purvis' remarks came only days after the Stennis Institute for Government suggested that some manufactured housing units could be used to build up some older neighborhoods and spark new growth. The institute's study was commissioned on behalf of the Grow Meridian Team.
Purvis has recently become more active in the housing debate since two homeowners who live near his home recently asked the city council to allow them to upgrade their old, dilapidated single-wide trailers with new double-wides.
The council proposed a change to the city's zoning ordinance that would allow single-wide trailer owners to automatically upgrade to a double-wide. The Meridian Planning Commission didn't take any action on the proposed change, which is still pending.
Purvis claims if such an amendment passes, property values all over Meridian could drastically drop and that the idea of using trailers to build a tax base isn't feasible or reasonable.
With a little creativity and investment Purvis said low income families who make a combined total of $28,000 annually could be placed in nice, new homes that would be worth between $50,000 and $60,000.
Using government programs such as Community Development Block Grants and the Federal National Mortgage Corp., Purvis said those types of homes could be subsidized and made affordable for families.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3226, or e-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.