Two Michigan cities use federal funds to address housing crisis

By Kyle Kaminski

November 6, 2023

The cities of Flint and Jackson are using funds provided through President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act to build more affordable housing and help prevent foreclosures.

MICHIGAN—Millions of dollars in federal funding that was provided to the cities of Jackson and Flint through President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act are being put to work this year to build more affordable housing and to help more Michiganders avoid foreclosure or eviction.

Affordable Housing

In Jackson, the aptly named 100 Homes Program—which was funded through $2.5 million provided through the American Rescue Plan Act—aims to construct 100 new houses on vacant, city-owned lots, which will then be sold to low-income residents at a discounted price.

Two Michigan cities use federal funds to address housing crisis

Although the homes won’t be built until next year, city officials told WLNS that nearly 100 applications for the program were received within the first few days of its rollout last month—demonstrating the clear need for more affordable housing within the local community.

“We want to make sure these homes are affordable to people of a low to moderate income, but we also want to make sure we’re setting up people for success,” a city spokesman told WLNS. “We don’t want to give people a mortgage they can’t afford or a house they can’t afford.”

According to the city website, the homes will only be sold to qualified buyers earning up to 120% of the area median income. For a family of four, that threshold is currently about $92,000 a year. They must be sold using a traditional mortgage, and they’ll be available to residents and non-residents—along with down-payment assistance from the city of $25,000 per home. 

Applicants are also encouraged to apply for an additional, $10,000 in down payment assistance through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, for a total discount of $35,000. 

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Michigander earning minimum wage would need to work at least 68 hours per week to afford a modest, one-bedroom rental at a fair-market rate. City officials said the 100 Homes program is designed to make home ownership more attainable and create more opportunities for local residents to build assets.

Eviction Protection

In the city of Flint, a total of $50,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding was provided last month to Legal Services of Eastern Michigan for the purpose of providing assistance to low-income residents facing foreclosure or eviction, according to reports from Flint Beat.

After a group of investors bought 230 foreclosed homes—190 of them in the city of Flint—at a Genesee County tax auction last month, city officials reportedly wanted to ensure that the families living in those homes would have resources available to avoid a potential eviction. 

The funds will reportedly help provide legal assistance and additional resources to anyone in the city who is facing foreclosure or eviction, with the goal of ensuring they have a place to live. City officials have said they’re uncertain how large of an impact the funding will make in the city

The phone number to Legal Services’ office in Flint is 1-888-783-8190.

READ MORE: Michigan state parks get upgrades with funds from Biden administration

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