Friday, August 26, 2011

Missouri Housing Panel Approves Aid for Tornado Vvictims

Tornado victims left homeless could advantage from $100 million in tax credits accepted Thursday to rebuild low-income rental housing in the Joplin and St. Louis areas. The state's latest housing plan includes new incentives to expand homes for people with mental and physical ailments.

The 2012 housing incentive plan accepted by the Missouri Housing Development Commission takes a noticeably different approach from many of its past versions, dedicating about 40 percent of its primary tax credit program to tornado relief and -- for the first time -- earmarking one-third of its total tax incentives for housing projects tailored to people with particular needs.

One of the biggest beneficiaries will be the Joplin area, where a May tornado killed 160 people and injured about 7,500 homes, a majority of which were engaged by people with low-to-moderate incomes.

The commission voted to assign the Joplin area $90 million of the $250 million of state and federal tax credits to be awarded under its main incentive program during 2012, and an additional $10 million in state and central tax credits to the St. Louis County community of Berkeley which was hit by a tornado in April. Although the actual tax credits are extend out over a 10-year period, developers typically produce cash upfront by selling their tax-credit vouchers on a discounted basis.

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