Karnes Housing Corporation held its 43rd annual meeting of members Tuesday, Oct. 29 at Becky’s Cafe in Karnes City. This not for profit organization, begun as a partial solution for the pressing need of affordable rental housing in Karnes City, was originally headed by Nelson Noster, former city commissioner and former owner/publisher of the Karnes City Citation.
In early 1971 Noster investigated the arrangements necessary to borrow construction funds from a government program administered by the Farmers home Administration which loaned funds at a very low rate of interest to qualifying organizations that provided affordable housing to qualified residents. To access the government program, which appeared to be feasible, 31 interested local business people contributed a total of $3,000 seed money into a newly chartered 501 c-4 non-profit entity named Karnes Housing Corporation. Farmers Home Administration could then loan the new corporation the necessary funds to construct 6 duplex and 10 three bedroom residential rental units. These duplexes and residences were constructed and rented in 1971.
As time went on, a critical problem arose because the Farmers Home Administration program - which held the mortgage note on Karnes Housing’s rent properties - also dictated the maximum income limits for tenants who could occupy the rented units. It soon became apparent that those who could afford to pay the rent usually earned too much income to qualify to be renters. At that time, arrangements were made with the Karnes County National Bank for a mortgage loan which was used to pay off Farmers Home Administration. This arrangement with the Karnes County National Bank has not only enabled Karnes Housing Corporation to pay off the original duplex and single residence units in full but also made it possible for Karnes Housing to finance construction of additional rental units, which at this time, include 12 duplex units on East Calvert and Huckle Streets, 4 recently built homes on Bodden and Anona Streets, 9 homes located on Craig, 4th, and Mayfield Streets, 3 homes on Bond, Calvert and Panna Maria Streets, as well as the building on South Panna Maria occupied by the Karnes County Appraisal District and the building formerly owned by Fossler Electric.
Karnes Housing Corporation continues its operations with 11 of the original members still present in the current group. Grateful acknowledgement is made to our two deceased past presidents, Nelson Noster and Fletcher B. Kuhnel, Jr., both of whom spent much volunteer time for Karnes Corporation in addition to their regular business.