By Sarah Snyder
ODESSA - Over the next few months, three lots on Bluebird Street near University Ave. in Odessa will become a workforce housing community for families who couldn't afford a home otherwise.
"We're hoping this becomes a great success for us and we do many many more of these homes," Odessa Assistant City Manager Michael Marrero, said.
The three bedroom two bathroom homes will not only provide a place to live for a family in need, but it will also put the property back on the tax role.
"The purpose of the Infill program is to do just that," Marrero said. "Go throughout our community, look for vacant properties, preferably tax-forclosed properties that we may already own, and essentially take that non-tax-producing property and put a home on it."
And even before city leaders broke the ground Thursday morning, the three lots are already spoken for.
"There is a large demand for housing that is moderately priced," Marrero said. "There is a considerable amount of construction that is going on in our city, and that's great news, but what we're trying to fill is that market that is moderately priced housing between $60,000 to $150,000."
Anyone at less than 80% median income will qualify.
"It was a struggle to get this program off the ground and we bid it out 4 times, and unfortunately today's market, the costs were just coming up too high for us," Marrero said.
The city is working with Burnett Construction who is not only making them affordable, but also green, helping the owners save money on utility bills.
"The homes are going to be real energy efficient and to be energy star rated, which is the highest level of efficiency," Builder John Burnett with Burnett Construction, said. "It's going to create some opportunities for those who wouldn't be able to afford housing."
And the city says, there's more to come.
"This is the start of the program, so these are our first 3," Marrero said. "We have 3 more lined up, after that, we'll continue our search for available property throughout our community. The more people we have approved, interested in the program, the more homes that we'll be able to build."
If you are interested in applying for one of these homes, city leaders ask that you contact the Community Development Office.