“Our most critical community issue”
At their regular meeting on Wednesday, March 8th the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners approved a one million dollar appropriation from the county’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery funds (aka ARPA funds) to be used in a partnership with the Fremont Area Community Foundation To help address one of the county’s most pressing needs, affordable housing.
Recent census data shows that the Newaygo County population is increasing, and studies indicate that there is a shortage of homes.
“With the demand for all types of housing so much higher than the supply, grants from Newaygo County and the Community Foundation will improve rental and ownership options,” said Lindsay Hager, FCF Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer. “Funds will be used to leverage other resources and incentivize housing developments that would otherwise not be feasible.”
Inceptive initiatives include:
1. Single Family New Construction
Overview: Housing developers can receive construction loans and grants to build new single family housing loans at reduced interest rates, decreasing construction costs. This may include traditional homes or other options such as tiny or modular homes as permitted by zoning.
2. Multi-family New Construction or Renovation
Overview: Local funding is provided for construction loans and grants for gaps in financing based on debt coverage ratios.
3. Emergency Homeowner Repair or Rehabilitation
Overview: Local funding is combined with County/CDBG program income as a revolving loan to assist qualified homeowners with emergency home repairs (e.g., roof, furnace, well, septic, etc.). This is continuation of an existing program currently operated in Newaygo County. Loans up to $25,000 are recorded as a lien against the property and repaid upon future resale.
The County and Community Foundation will create a committee of five to determine which projects to fund annually. The Community Foundation will provide the community assessment and expertise, fund management and reporting, RFPs, funding guidelines, communication to the public, committee scheduling and decision making and approved fund distribution and outcome measurement.
“We are excited about the partnership with the County to address perhaps our most critical community issue: the housing shortage, “ said Shelly Kasprzycki, president and CEO of Fremont Area Community Foundation. “This is an excellent opportunity for us to move forward with housing related projects that will be good for our Newaygo County citizens, and to support a vibrant economy.”
“The Newaygo County Board is pleased to be able to use some of the ARPA dollars in a joint effort with the Fremont Area Community Foundation in making housing more affordable]ble and available in all our communities.” added Newaygo County Board Chair Bryan Kolk.