State housing rehab program announced 7.8.09

Written by David Green.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has unveiled plans to use more than $300 million in new federal funds to spur development and rehabilitation of multifamily housing throughout the state.

 The U.S. Department of Treasury announced the first round of federal funding recipients May 22 to Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Kansas and Puerto Rico, with Michigan receiving $78 million as a first installment. Michigan earlier this year was among the first states in the nation to outline how it intends to allocate American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding legislation that was signed into law Feb. 17.

 MSHDA’s proposals for ARRA funds could create an estimated 12,000 jobs, renovate 16,000 housing units and generate $800 million in statewide development activity, said MSHDA Executive Director Keith Molin.

MSHDA officials also announced plans to distribute an additional $22 million in ARRA funds through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP).

HUD’s HPRP program targets two Michigan populations: those who are currently in housing but are at risk of becoming homeless and need short-term assistance; and those residing in shelters or on the street needing longer-term assistance in order to obtain and sustain housing.

Michigan’s homeless population increased by 10 percent over the past year. The number of homeless people in Michigan grew from 79,940 in 2007 to 86,189 in 2008, the second annual MSHDA “State of Homelessness in Michigan” report shows. The report shows 76 percent of the state’s homeless citizens are homeless because they cannot find affordable housing. The average income of a homeless Michigan family is $730 per month, according to the report.  

The state housing agency’s “Save the Dream” campaign to prevent foreclosure was recently recognized by the Public Relations Society of America for outstanding public service. Since the campaign’s launch, contacts by Michigan homeowners seeking assistance from MSHDA foreclosure prevention counselors have tripled. Gov. Jennifer Granholm has enabled Michigan to receive $3 million in federal grants to boost efforts to prevent foreclosures, including legal assistance funds and adding more homeownership counselors than ever before to advise Michigan citizens in danger of foreclosure.

“Home ownership is the building block of strong families, strong schools and strong communities,” said Mary Townley, Director of MSHDA’s Homeownership Division.  “Unfortunately, in Michigan and across the country, the home foreclosure problem is a crisis that affects far too many homeowners.”

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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