Legacy Community Development expanding to lease and rent properties to create more local housing options

Published 12:38 am Wednesday, February 15, 2023

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A Port Arthur-based agency aimed at providing affordable housing to low- and moderate-income families will now be able to expand after being granted the ability to lease and rent properties.

Legacy Community Development Corp., which is based in Port Arthur, on Tuesday was granted permission to amend a previous contract with the city.

“In our particular contract, ‘lease’ or ‘rent’ was omitted,” said Vivian Ballou, executive director of Legacy CDC. “We’re trying to purchase affordable units for rental. We’re moving more towards acquisition of existing homes. Our new construction program is closed.”

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Legacy is under contract to purchase a duplex in the 3200 block of Procter Street. According to information from the city, the sale price of the property is $70,000. Repairs, which include a rehabilitation of both units, is estimated at $60,000. The building was inspected for deficiencies, termites and foundation damage; and a closing date has been set for Feb. 28.

Ballou said Legacy CDC has built and renovated hundreds of homes in Port Arthur, Jefferson County, Hardin County and Orange County in the last 12 years.

In 2022, she said, they built four houses with another four under construction and one acquired to renovate and sell.

Right now, she said, the focus is on rental units “to help ensure there’s always an available rental when we need it. We work with a lot of homeless or near-homeless, so some will serve as transitional housing.”

Ballou said the agency is funded through federal money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as state grants.

Councilman Donald Frank said council members and city staff have had numerous conversations about low-income housing.

“I wanted to express to our citizens and to everyone so that they might fully know that…we’re not trying to discriminate against anyone that needs housing,” he said. “All people need housing. But we do know that, per capita, we have an exorbitant amount, a large amount of individuals…more low-income housing, perhaps, than a city our size.”

According to current numbers from the U.S. Census, Port Arthur has an estimated population of 55,742.

The median household income between 2017-2021 was $42,933.

As of 2021, 25.8 percent of the city’s population was estimated to live in poverty.

Legacy was first certified in the City of Orange in 2006, followed by Beaumont in 2010 and Port Arthur in 2012.

In addition to housing services, Legacy also provides educational and support services.

For more information, call 409-832-2723.