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Bellefontaine to get Mo. housing agency money

UPI Photo/Bill Greenblatt)
The Bellefontaine Habilitation Center.

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Housing Development Commission has reversed itself and approved using unspent tax credit money to pay for improvements at a St. Louis-area facility for the developmentally disabled.

Nearly $10 million from the Home Ownership Purchase Enhancement (HOPE) program will be used to fund expansion of the Bellefontaine Habilitation Center.

September 30th was the deadline for Missouri homebuyers to apply for the $1,250 state tax rebate, which had a pool of $15 million. But only a third of the available money is believed to have been applied for.

Governor Jay Nixon proposed the idea last month of using the leftover funds for Bellefontaine, but the Housing Commission vote fell one short of approval. Nixon is happy with the about-face.

"I think that making sure that folks with mental challenges have new state-of-the-art pods and housing there is an important step forward for a very challenged community," Nixon said.

Opposition to using tax credit funds for Bellefontaine had been led by the Democratic governor's chief rival, Republican Lt. Governor Peter Kinder. He said the proposal had the effect of turning the MHDC into a "cash cow."

But a spokesman for Kinder says he changed his mind after hearing that state funding for the project was running short.


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