Knight Foundation to double Macon-Bibb’s ARP investment ito create affordable housing

by | Jul 19, 2021 | Community News, Mayor, News

NewTown Macon and the Historic Macon Foundation will increase affordable housing in Macon-Bibb County by building new rental units and renovating existing ones with investments from Macon-Bibb County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and a matching grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The grant announcement was made on Monday, July 19, and the Commission approved the ARP funds on Tuesday, July 20. To watch the full announcement, click here. Macon-Bibb’s use of ARP funds is part of a more than $18 million plan to help the community, including creating affordable housing, addressing food deserts, attacking blight, and more.

Knight’s strategic investments in Macon-Bibb focus on supporting an inclusive downtown for all residents to live, work, and connect with each other, which aligns with the priorities of the community-driven Macon Action Plan. The grants are for $1 million for NewTown Macon and $600,000 for Historic Macon, thus doubling the amount they will have available to create affordable housing.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make transformational change in people’s lives for years to come,” says Mayor Lester Miller. “This is work that is going to lift our entire community.”

“This is a pivotal moment in NewTown’s history, to be able to transition from the central business district to the attached neighborhoods and be able to make a difference,” says NewTown Macon President and CEO Josh Rogers.

“We know that healthy and thriving neighborhoods must have a mix of housing options, so we are delighted to be investing $1.2 million in quality, affordable, rental housing in the Beall’s Hill community,” says Historic Macon Foundation Board Chair Gerri Marion McCord. “The initiative has been a priority for Historic Macon for several years, but the impact of COVID on our Macon neighbors has pushed this housing option to the top of the priority list.”

“Knight supports inclusive, equitable, and engaged communities, so we are thrilled to invest in an initiative where neighborhood residents are so deeply involved in the creation of more affordable housing,” said Lynn Murphey, Knight’s Macon program director. “We have worked with both NewTown and Historic Macon and have seen the impact of their work in community. This alliance between residents, nonprofits and local government can be a model for other cities seeking to make transformational change in people’s lives.”

NewTown Macon intends to use $2 million to help residents become entrepreneurs. They will help people renovate and rent blighted properties by training them to build and rehabilitate investment property in their neighborhoods. NewTown will also establish a revolving loan program to support residents’ purchase and renovation of 20 blighted urban core properties that will then be rented out at affordable rates by residents.

Historic Macon plans to use its $1.2 million to build 12 to 16 affordable rental units in the Beall’s Hill community by Spring 2022. It aims to increase quality, affordable rental housing to meet demand and combat blight in the area as the next step in the neighborhood’s ongoing revitalization. The investment will also create an ongoing rental housing revolving fund for the organization to use in other neighborhoods.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation 

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.

About NewTown Macon 

For 25 years, NewTown Macon has led the revitalization efforts of downtown Macon. NewTown’s mission is to attract, leverage, and invest in self-sustaining transformation with the vision of a vibrant and authentic city experience unparalleled in the South. For more information, please visit www.newtownmacon.com.

About The Historic Macon Foundation

Founded in 1964, Historic Macon Foundation is a nonprofit organization that revitalizes Macon by preserving architecture and sharing history. For more than 56 years, Historic Macon has been engaged in community revitalization efforts and has led the nation in innovative tactics for historic preservation. For more information, visit www.historicmacon.org.

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