KANSAS CITY, MO. — Preserving affordable units for public housing and in rural areas continued to be a focus for Missouri after funding for 34 rental projects for fiscal 2008 was approved.

The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) reserved more than $6.9 million in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) and more than $4.3 million more in LIHTC set-asides.

“There is still a tremendous need throughout the state for preservation, workforce housing, and senior citizen housing,” said Pete Ramsel, executive director for MHDC. “Staff did an excellent job of balancing these needs and trying to stretch the available funding.”

All four projects awarded reservations in the Kansas City metro were developments for low-income seniors for two special reasons.

The first is because two of those communities preserve existing housing. The second is because one of the projects, Pemberton Park for Grandfamilies, serves an important part of the community: grandparents who are also primary caregivers for their grandchildren. The developer of this unique project is locally based Cougar Capital, LLC. An area hospital developed support programs for these families. Ramsel said 4,800 such households exist in the Kansas City area alone.

Just under half of the total funding for 2008 went to affordable communities outside Kansas City and St. Louis, and much of that funding went to developments in rural areas. Still, more need exists for affordable rural rental housing.

“To make a real difference in rural development, we still are in great need of federal legislation allowing the tax credit income limits to be the greater of the area median income or statewide median income,” said Ramsel. “Without [such] legislation, there are families making minimum wage that cannot qualify for tax credit units. Until this is remedied, we will not be able to address the housing problems in rural Missouri to the full extent.”

Ramsel has stressed the rural need since he took over as head of the MHDC last June.