Mayor James Mueller announces new initiative to increase affordable housing options

NOW: Mayor James Mueller announces new initiative to increase affordable housing options

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- A new initiative from Mayor James Mueller will address the ongoing issue of available and affordable housing for South Bend residents. The 'Neighborhood Homes Initiative' will cover some of the costs that are typically large expenses when building new homes.

“We need more housing in South Bend, and we need to figure out how to make that happen," says Mayor James Mueller of South Bend. “This is the first step in that, we don’t need to cause unnecessary burdens that prevents the ability of building houses.”

The first steps of the plan include making policy changes for utility connection fees, and installing a reimbursement program for the various costs for connections of eater and sewer services at newly built homes.

“That would cover qualifying costs, that would cover not just the physical connection to the sewer main to the house, but also those costs associated to repaving sidewalk, curbs, and the street," says Mayor James Mueller. "That could often times make the cost escalate pretty rapidly.”

Both housing developers and residents that apply for low-income housing are eligible to receive the credits from the initiative.

“Any developer that’s doing five or fewer units infill housing will be eligible for the credits, as well as any CDCs or nonprofits building homes, there’s no limit to the number they can do," says Public Works Director, Eric Horvath. "Or, somebody whose applied for low-income housing tax credits as well.”

The innovative policy comes at a good time, with the high cost of labor, materials. and homes making affordable housing difficult to come by. City leaders are looking forward to filling the vacant lots in South Bend neighborhoods with new, affordable housing options.

“I’m excited about the opportunities that’s going to be presented to developers and to the individuals that are committed to our neighborhoods," says Canneth Lee from the South Bend Common Council.

“What could be a barrier for some lots in our city, is now an opportunity.," says Vice President for the South Bend Common Council, Sheila Niezgodski.

The South Bend Common Council is expected to begin hearing the ordinance with the proposed changes to the System Development Charges on Monday, June 27th. The policy changes and the reimbursement program will be active by mid-July.

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