A Branson nonprofit agency announced this week that it has secured a $1million grant to help it built an anticipated affordable housing community.
Elevate Branson said it has been selected to receive a $1 million grant from he Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines through the Competitive Affordable Housing Program. The loan is for Elevate Community, a planned development of 48 tiny homes on Gretna Road next to Elevate Branson's facility.
“This is a critical step in making Elevate Community possible,” said Elevate Branson co-found Bryan Stallings in a press release. “Not only is this funding essential for the project, but the award of this grant provides our project with credibility, stature, and security. No one needs to wonder any longer if this kind of affordable housing project can happen in Branson. It’s happening.”
Elevate Community was first unveiled publicly in August 2019 when Elevate Branson – then known as Jesus Was Homeless – sought and received approval from Branson aldermen so Elevate Branson could begin applying for grants.
Originally called Hope Village, Elevate Community would include 48, 400-square-foot homes as well as micro-businesses, job training and mentorship opportunities. According to the press release, those elements help create a community.
“A secure living environment with dignified work also provides relationships, friendships, neighbors, and the mental and emotional support individuals need to reach their full potential,” the release stated.
Branson Bank partnered with Elevate Branson to help bring this loan to the community.
“Partnering with Elevate Branson to bring $1M from government grants to Taney County, we know this will empower our neighbors and improve our community as a whole,” said Branson Bank President and CEO Bill Jones in the press release. “Affordable housing is a critical element in the pursuit to provide safe, secure, and reasonably priced housing for those in need. These efforts are a steppingstone for families to get out of poverty and allow them to establish a better quality of life for the long term.”
When the project was first presented to the city of Branson, the city’s Planning and Development Director Joel Hornickel commented that the community’s proximity to 76 Country Boulevard was part of what made it attractive.
“One of things we are truly excited about is there is continuous sidewalk from this property to 76, and this property is in very close proximity to a lot of jobs,” Hornickel said at the time. “So if someone wouldn’t have a car, it’s still a location that’s very close to jobs.”
This week’s press release stated that “The Affordable Housing Program encourages collaboration between financial institutions and housing organizations to create affordable housing solutions for families in need. Since its inception in 1990, FHLB Des Moines members have helped facilitate more than $740 million in funding to benefit over 120,000 families through new construction and rehabilitation of owner-occupied or rental housing, as well as down payment and closing cost assistance.”
FHLB Des Moines President and CEO Kris Williams said the goal is to strengthen the communities they serve.
““Thanks to 30 years of partnerships between the Bank, our member financial institutions and local housing sponsors such as Elevate Branson, we directly and positively impact the communities we serve,” Williams said in the press release.
The press release also said that “FHLB Des Moines returns 10 percent of its net income annually to assist with housing needs throughout its district, consisting of 13 states and three U.S. Pacific territories. Affordable Housing Program dollars are an important form of gap funding for a variety of projects, as the grants are often combined with other federal and local dollars.”