The city has submitted a grant application to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority for $294,800 to fund various housing improvements.
”In this new grant that we’re doing, we decided to do two different programs in one grant application,“ Grand Haven Neighborhood Housing Coordinator Char Seise said. ”Because the funding is getting so competitive, we decided we should go for the full amount that we’re allowed to go for at the beginning of the year in hopes we get funded in the full amount that we asked for.“
If funded, the grant would assist up to five income-eligible homebuyers with up to $10,000 in down-payment assistance and up to $20,000 in repair funds. Homebuyers would be eligible with income between 40 and 80 percent of the area’s median income.
It would also include a homeowner repair component to allow the city to assist eight existing income-eligible homeowners with home repair funds.
”That is something we haven’t done in conjunction with each other in the past,“ Seise said. ”It’s a new grant application and a new way of thinking about things.“
Funding would be used for homes in the city’s Eastown area, bounded by U.S. 31, Beechtree Street, and Waverly and Madison avenues. That area was chosen as it remains a neighborhood for entry-level housing and first-time homebuyers. It is a desirable area due to its proximity to schools, commercial businesses, jobs, restaurants, public transportation and parks, officials say.
The program’s intent is to improve the city's housing quality. To date, the city has assisted 15 homebuyers with purchasing or repairing homes in Grand Haven.
”We’ve helped eliminate housing code violations, improved energy efficiency and increased the overall property value for the houses in the community,” Seise said.
City officials say that, in the future, they’re looking at the possibility of submitting applications for rental rehabilitation funding.