MACON, Ga. — The Knight Foundation, which typically invests in journalism and the arts, has promised the county $1.6 million, matching the amount of American Rescue Plan money that Macon-Bibb County plans to use for affordable housing.
Historic Macon has worked on revitalization in Beall's Hill in the past, but now they're planning to do even more. With their portion of the grant money, the organization plans to build 12 to 16 new homes in the neighborhood.
"Now, we're able to address the top of our priority list," said Gerri McCord with Historic Macon.
Historic Macon says they plan to have the new homes ready to rent by Spring 2022.
Meanwhile, Newtown Macon plans to use their $2 million to launch a revolving loan program.
"This program can help you in a number of ways that you wouldn't be able to get a traditional loan including rehabilitating a blighted house in your neighborhood, building a new house in an abandoned lot, rehabilitating a building with multifamily unit or mixed use property," said Josh Rogers, president of NewTown Macon.
Rogers says their plan for the money would help people purchase and renovate 20 blighted properties in Macon's urban core.
The properties would then be rented out at affordable rates.
"That it will help make more Maconites homeowners and landlords themselves. Owning real estate is one of the best ways to close the racial wealth gap, disrupt multigenerational poverty, and enable the next generation to have a better life," Rogers said.
Rogers says NewTown Macon hopes to expand outside of downtown so their program will focus on Macon's first neighborhoods including Tindall Heights, Fort Hill and Pleasant Hill.
"All of those areas attached to downtown Macon, and it just so happens to be where most of the poverty and blight is all concentrated," Rogers said.
Another point that Rogers made is that this revolving loan program will last forever. As borrowers pay off their loan, other people can pull out new loans. That revolving loan program is open now. You can apply on NewTown Macon's website.
Macon-Bibb County commissioners are expected to vote on final approval for the American Rescue Plan money Tuesday. A large chunk of the funding would go towards food programs and fixing up blighted areas.