DUBUQUE, Iowa — Dubuque will spend $1.5 million over seven years to buy and rehab housing in some of the community’s poorest neighborhoods.

City Council approved an agreement Monday with True North Community Development Corp. to work on up to 50 residential properties in the city’s low-income neighborhoods, the Telegraph Herald reported . The funds were approved through the city’s recent budget process.

“This will go a long way to stabilize our at-risk neighborhoods and create an environment where everyone can be proud of where they live regardless of their income or stead in the community,” said Mayor Roy Buol.

The rehabbed homes will be sold to residents making 80 percent or less of the area’s median income, which would be no more than $53,100 for a family of four. The city will also provide homebuyers with up to a $25,000 loan with no interest.

Homeowners would be required to keep the property a single-family home for 21 years.

The project is part of a larger plan by the Greater Dubuque Development Corp. to turn 120 dilapidated rental structures into single-family homes by 2023.

The number of homes worked on each year will depend on revenue generated by the city’s housing tax increment financing districts. Increased property tax collections from new residential developments on the city’s outskirts are set aside to support affordable housing programs throughout the area.

Councilman Jake Rios casted the only dissenting vote, citing concerns about gentrification and displacing low-income residents.

Rios expressed worry that “in the immediate future we’re going to end up having people pushed out prematurely and . move into housing that’s subpar that we haven’t gotten to yet.”

Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com