Elderly Housing Tax Credit Housing Projects, Is There a Need? - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Elderly Housing Tax Credit Housing Projects, Is There a Need?

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On a state wide level the legislature has made it a top priority to provide elderly housing for its 55 and older populations.

There is one tax credit allocated per county to a developer.

Currently, Panama City is still debating on whether or not to allow one of the developers vying for a bid to rezone a piece of property. The issue at hand commissioners say is supply versus demand.

Of the more than 170,000 people in the county more than 39,000 are ages 60 and older.

"We have a large percent of elderly in Bay county," said Beth Coulliete with the Bay County Center on Aging.

She says Panama City is prime real estate for this population.

"People just love living in Panama City and in Bay County," said Coulliete. "Older people do because I they find it's a good lifestyle for them as opposed to South Florida where things are a bit different."

According to the Council on Aging almost 5,000 seniors, 60 years and older are low income. But, many on the Panama City commission find themselves asking should the rezoning of another tax credit housing project be allowed.

"There is a need for senior housing, definitely there is," said Gussie Williams. "But, I think there should be a higher end or a lower end, because I have reject people cause they make too much money and then some who don't make enough."

Panama City is home to two elderly communities, St. Andrews Towers and Siena Gardens.

Siena Gardens is a tax credit community. The proposed development of an additional tax credit housing project is less than a mile away.

"Rents are based on the median income of Bay County and then the criteria minimum is $17,000 but the maximum is $24,000 annually that a person can make," said Williams.

Siena Gardens currently has one unit open and does not have a waiting list. Williams says her 99% capacity isn't an evidence of an overwhelming need for tax credit housing so much as hard work.

"I mean we work hard to keep our numbers where they are," said Williams.

Tuesday, Panama City Commission will go into further discussion on whether or not to allow the Arbor Valley Development Company to rezone a property and move forward with their application for tax credit housing. Commissioner Billy Rader told News13 Wednesday his decision will be based on facts not opinion.