$250,000 state grant to help improve exteriors of 8 Lansing homes

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The Lansing Committee on Ways and Means met Oct. 15, to accept a $250,000 state grant that will help residents in the Churchill Downs neighborhood improve the exterior of their homes.

Alexandra Hill

The Lansing Committee on Ways and Means met Oct. 15 to accept a $250,000 state grant that will help residents in the Churchill Downs neighborhood improve the exterior of their homes.

The city of Lansing will use a $250,000 state grant to help residents in the Churchill Downs neighborhood improve the exterior of their homes.

The money will be used to conduct renovations on exterior components such as roofing, siding, window and door replacement, porch repairs and/or replacement, and minor landscaping. Funds from the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority grant were accepted by the city’s Committee on Ways and Means meeting Oct. 15.

“Exterior improvements at rehabilitated homes often spur neighbors to make their own improvements and contribute to community revitalization,” said Barbara Kimmel, interim development manager for the city of Lansing.

The neighborhood stabilization program is open to low- to moderate-income homeowners in the Churchill Downs neighborhood. The process of selecting the eight homes is through application on a first-approved, first-served basis.

Applicants must provide documentation of income and assets.

From 2000 through 2019, federal funding for public housing dropped 17%, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Kimmel said the city is grateful to receive some additional funds to help Lansing’s homeowners. 

“This grant, which is enough to support up to eight households, will be for many the difference between making much-needed repairs and allowing their homes to fall further into disrepair and losing home value,” said Lansing City Council member Adam Hussain. Hussain represents the city’s 3rd Ward, which includes Churchill Downs.

Hussain said the 850-household community, which is located in southwest Lansing, has a mix of incomes and the housing stock consists of mostly single-family dwellings.

“Some are hard-pressed to prioritize exterior rehabilitation when they are stretching dollars to meet the immediate needs of the household,” Hussain said.

According to the grant information form, $197,500 from the grant will be used on construction and $52,500 will be used on personnel. There will be an investment of about $25,000 per home. 

Kimmel said some homes may require more work and the maximum investment, while some others may require less work and less funding – which could allow the city to assist more than eight home with the grant. 

“St some homes, the amount of work required may exceed the maximum funds available and owners may be required to bring funds to the table in order to participate,” Kimmel said. 

The city of Lansing is partnering with Capital Area Housing Partnership, a local nonprofit housing developer, to run the program.

Participants may also participant in separate programs to assist with improvements, including the Lead Safe Lansing program and federal dollars through a Community Development Block Grant

“We have some people in the older generation no longer working that can’t afford to do some of these updates that they want to,” said Mike Redding, president of the Churchill Downs Community Association. “I know there’s a couple of people who live in the neighborhood that need some paint or siding repaired, so this will work really good.” 

Approved homes will require inspections to estimate the cost and scope of work. Licensed and insured contractors, who are vetted, will then bid the work competitively. 

Kimmel anticipates construction beginning on some projects in as quickly as three to six months.

“The importance of safe and appropriate housing for individuals, families and communities can’t be overstated,” Hussain said. “It’s one of the greatest equalizers, imperative to upward ascension, and enhances the quality of life in any community substantially.”

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