MSHDA finds new ways to deliver affordable housing options across the state

What’s happening: It’s been a busy summer for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) in their mission to provide affordable housing options to residents throughout the state. And as announcements of new projects and programs roll in week after week, officials there promise that there’s plenty more to come.

Key announcements: In June, MSHDA approved nearly $1.4 million in MOD loans to seven communities and organizations throughout the state, including the rural communities of Albion, Cassopolis, and Imlay City. The MOD program helps fund the construction of modular build/modified technology homes, enabling communities to build homes that are less expensive than traditional-build homes — and to build them much more quickly. Also in June, MSHDA launched the Michigan Housing Opportunities Promoting Energy-Efficiency (MI-HOPE) program, a $10 million grant fund that will help low-income families make energy-efficient upgrades and repairs. Grant recipients are expected to be announced this fall.

Big ticket items: MSHDA also approved approximately $135 million in loans to five affordable housing developments in the communities of Benton Harbor, Clawson, Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo, leading to the eventual renovation and construction of 1,036 affordable apartment units in those communities.

What they’re saying: “Our goal is to provide housing that's affordable for a wide range of people throughout the state, from the very low-income and all the way up to the middle-income range,” says Chad Benson, MSHDA rental development director. “In these developments, some of them are preserving affordable housing, some are creating new affordable housing, but all of it is important in making a positive impact on needs throughout the state. There is a great need for affordable housing just about everywhere right now.”

Rural focus: One thing rural communities should look out for in the coming weeks and months is a new wave of projects involving the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and its “9 percent program,” where dedicated resources are reserved for developing affordable housing in rural parts of the state. The “9 percent” refers to, as the MSHDA website puts it, “An annual credit equal to roughly 9 percent of the qualified basis of construction or rehabilitation costs is available to developments not utilizing federal or tax-exempt financing.” Benson couldn’t share project details as of yet, but they are coming, he says.

“Within our 9 percent program, we recognize that our rural communities are different than our non-rural communities,” Benson says. “It’s about recognizing that and understanding that the need exists in both places, and trying to make sure that our policies address the differences in needs that exist.”
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