Rebuilding Riverside: community meeting advocates for affordable housing in Oxford

OXFORD, MS — A community meeting held at the University of Mississippi Law School Thursday evening brought together LOU community members in hopes of finding a solution to the current housing crisis caused by the closing of the affordable housing complex, Riverside Place.

John Jopling, managing attorney for the Mississippi Center for Justice, and Phil Eide, Senior Vice President of HOPE Enterprise, were the guest panelists facilitating discussion and answering questions during the meeting. The audience contained University students, professors, city aldermen, city planners, community members and one former Riverside Resident.

The closing of Riverside left many without homes, but Tisha Sanders of the Oxford Housing Authority is working diligently to find landlords willing to accept the vouchers granted to former Riverside occupants and help families find affordable housing within the city limits.

While there were disagreements about how to solve the current situation, people in the room agreed with Eide’s view that this is “not a Riverside question as much as it is an affordable housing question.”

Sanders believes solving the crisis is possible with the efforts of community members and city officials, but the question remains “how?”

Proposed solutions included tax credits for developers to promote the construction of affordable housing and possible plans for the city to make new affordable housing in the same area as Riverside. In the Vision 2037 plan for Oxford, the region Riverside is located in is left blank and marked as a TND or traditional neighborhood development.

Vision 2037 Oxford, map of Traditional Neighborhoods

Link to the full Vision 2037 Plan:

http://www.oxfordms.net/documents/departments/planning/vision-2037-draft.pdf

The city is open to the idea of building afforadable housing where Riverside is, but nothing has been decided yet.

City Planner, Judy Daniel, believes it will take multiple models to achieve affordable housing, but she is “looking forward to the opportunity for the city to get to this.”