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Affordable housing the topic of meeting





Mennonite Housing Rehabilitation Services Inc. will host an affordable housing informational meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Hays Welcome Center, 2700 Vine.

Providing affordable housing options for elderly and low-income individuals for more than 25 years, Mennonite Housing has repaired more than 12,000 homes and built more than 500 new homes in Wichita and surrounding areas.

This will be the organization's first informational meeting in Hays.

"The intent right now is to at least get the word out and let folks know there are program funds for affordable housing that perhaps they weren't aware of," said Andrew Bias, president and CEO of Mennonite Housing.

The organization partners with USDA Rural Development and provides several programs to assist in home ownership. One option, the Section 502 loan, is a self-help loan. Those who qualify for the funding become the builders of the house, under the supervision and coordination of Mennonite Housing.

Another program offered entails fund recipients "putting sweat equity" into an existing home, Bias said.

During the Hays visit, Mennonite Housing staff hope to meet with potential buyers and clients. Those targeted clients, said Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development Executive Director Aaron White, are individuals making 80 percent of the area's median household income or less.

"In the case of Ellis County, we're talking about a family of four who could make about $49,000 a year," White said. "So folks in that wage demographic for the household are who their targeted clients are."

RSVPs by 10 a.m. Thursday to (785) 628-3102.