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Lawmaker Wants Veterans Considered for Low Income Housing Develo - KOAM TV 7

Lawmaker Wants Veterans Considered for Low Income Housing Development

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JASPER COUNTY, MISSOURI -

An area lawmaker works to give veterans priority for low income housing. Right now low income housing is available for minorities, the elderly and the disabled.
          But Missouri Representative Charlie Davis is behind a bill that would extend tax credits to developments for veterans.

Veteran Lisa Woody knows the benefits of low income housing. She shares a one bed, one bath apartment with her service dog. The army veteran landed the Patriot Park duplex just in time. “I was homeless for about nine months. We were living in my car, my service dog and I. It got really bad. I thought it was gonna end then I was told about this place. It was heaven for me.”

Patriot Park, low income housing, specifically for veterans, was built with private funding but Missouri House bill 161 filed by Representative Charlie Davis would offer incentives to developers to build more. He explained, “In Missouri, we have low income tax credit projects which allows the developer  to develop subdivisions or apartment complexes
and they have low rates as far as rent  and everything goes. So, if we can allow veterans to be added to that list,  then we can  have some of these developments be developed for specifically our veterans.

 The head of the non-profit group that developed the Patriot Park duplexes said the tax credit  would make a difference in building more and those who work with veterans say they are greatly needed.

Ted Donaldson director of Compass Quest said,   "About thirty percent of the homeless population (in Jasper and Newton counties) are veterans. Those that are chronically homeless, homeless for more than a year,  ninety percent of those are veterans. So  anything that gives a veteran and their family an opportunity to change that situation we full support."

Veteran Mike Schultz would benefit. He said, "My family’s getting bigger but my house is still the same size, so it would definitely help my family.
The family of five lives in two of three bedrooms. He and his wife and nine   month old baby in one and two daughters in another. Even working and military disability  doesn’t pay the rent
Schultz explained, "The only way I  can afford our house right now is by having a roommate who is a veteran to share the bills and the expenses."

Lisa Woody said people seem to think veterans get lots of money on disability but she said that’s not true.  “If  you have a forty percent disability rating  you only get $407 dollars and 75 cents a month. That’s not going far."

The legislation was pitched last year but languished.  Davis says developers are already willing to build for veterans  and  says  the bill stands a greater chance of passing  this year with new Governor Eric Greitens, a veteran himself.

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