EDINBURG — A new $19 million affordable housing complex officially opened its doors Wednesday, though the 128 units it comprises are mostly occupied.
Only three apartments remain vacant since The Heights, located at 2132 E. Wisconsin Road, began leasing in January, said Mohannad H. Mohanna, president and managing member of Highridge Costa Housing LLC.
And while some may see the figure as a measure of success, Mohanna sees it differently.
“It’s really a reflection of the need for quality affordable housing,” he said. “The prices of affordable housing are getting worse every day.”
One in four families in the United States are rent-burdened, often spending somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of their gross income on housing needs.
“How many of us here take home gross income — none,” Mohanna said.
The project took about four years to complete and is a result of a partnership between the developers — Dallas-based Casa Linda Development Corporation and California-based Highridge Costa Housing LLC — and a number of governmental agencies, ranging from the federal level to the city of Edinburg.
“There’s nothing more important than having affordable housing for families,” said Texas Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, who spoke at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday.
State Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who was also a guest speaker, wrote a letter of support for the project in 2015. His recommendation, coupled with letters of support from Hidalgo County and the city of Edinburg, made it possible for the project to be selected for a highly competitive tax credit program.
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs awarded The Heights more than $1.4 million annually in federal housing tax credits for a period of 10 years.
“The Heights is a perfect example of how the various levels of government can work together with private developers to provide quality affordable housing options for area residents,” Canales said.
The Credit Program, which aims to create housing opportunities for working families by offering tax credits to investors, is the most successful affordable rental housing production program in U.S. history, having financed to date approximately 2 million units nationwide since its inception in 1986.
“The city of Edinburg gladly submitted a letter of support for this project because it’s something that we need in our city and something that will improve the quality of life of many of our citizens,” Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina said. “This is an example of public-private partnerships bringing good to our community.”
The gated apartment community comprises eight, two-story buildings that offer one-, two- and three-bedroom rental floor plans, a swimming pool, a picnic area and a furnished community clubhouse with a fitness area, business center, laundry room and kitchen.