JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A new affordable housing option is open for residents in Jacksonville with the help of funding from the North Carolina General Assembly.

A total of $190 million from the Workforce Housing Loan Program is being used for over 77 developments statewide, including the new Springfield Park Apartments in Jacksonville.

“It’s our number one challenge in this state is workforce development and affordable housing. And that’s something that the General Assembly recognizes,” said Sen. Michael Lazzara. who was at Friday’s ceremony.

Lazzara signed and handed off the $239,000 check for the challenges faced during construction.

“We know what it costs to build a development like this, and we budget for it. We don’t expect a pandemic to come along and face scarce resources and rising construction costs,” said Director of Business Development and Planning at East Point Home, Mark McCloskey.

Along with all the obstacles, the need for affordable housing is ever-present.

“We’re able to fund about 8,800 units a year across the state through our homeownership and rental programs. But the demand is so far above that,” said Executive Director of the N.C. Housing Finance Agency, Scott Farmer.

That’s especially true in areas like the City of Jacksonville.

“Rents have increased here in the City of Jacksonville,” said Tracy Jackson, director of Neighborhood Improvement Services with the city. “People should not spend no more than 30% of their monthly income. But we know that they’re spending much more than that.”

Now with 80 units, Springfield Park Apartments gives residents access to affordable housing, for 1-,2-, and 3-bedroom options, with rent ranging from $300 to $700. One tenant said it really makes a difference to the people that live there.

“I can say on behalf of myself and other residents here, thank you guys for what you’re doing. It’s making a huge impact in ways that you guys probably don’t even realize,” said Kendra Lisiewski, a resident of the complex.

All of the units are leased out for the time being, but a second phase of the development is already in the works next door, with 72 units on the way.

For more information on Springfield Park Apartments, click here.