FLINT, Michigan—Metro Community Development, Genesee County Land Bank, a youth workforce readiness program and the Consumers Energy Foundation have partnered to rehabilitate vacant homes on the northside of Flint into safe, affordable housing for resale to income-eligible homebuyers.
The Acquisition and Rehabilitation Program kicked off with a community celebration at Mount Tabor Missionary Baptist Church on Nov. 12, across from the Garland Street home that will be the first to be rehabilitated.
The Consumers Energy Foundation provided Metro Community Development with a $250,000 grant -- part of the foundation’s first-ever Prosperity Awards -- to help fund the program.
“This funding will enable us to strengthen neighborhoods by transforming abandoned houses into affordable and attractive residences for first-time homebuyers,” said Brian Glowiak, CEO of Metro Community Development.
The program will support up to 36 home rehabilitations over the next decade. Genesee County Land Bank will assist with property acquisitions.
“Every time I visit, I’m blown away; Flint is not what you think it is,” said Roger Curtis, vice president of public affairs for Consumers Energy. “I want the people of Flint to know that. I want everyone in Michigan to know that. I want everyone in the world to know that. Flint is strong. Flint is resilient. Flint is surviving. Flint is thriving.”
Glowiak explained that three key ingredients will allow them to make the most of the grant.
The first involves the rehabilitation process, where participants in Metro Flint Youthbuild will have the opportunity to work alongside skilled tradespeople and earn money while learning marketable skills.
Second is the commitment to eliminate or reduce the appraisal gap, which will not only help prospective home-buyers, but existing homeowners. The goal is to ensure the cost of repairs doesn’t exceed that of the appraised value, which would make it hard for potential homebuyers to obtain traditional mortgages, causing a depressed home value.
Metro Community Development plans to combat this by financing the first few homes, allowing them to raise market value while helping current homeowners build equity, Glowiak explained. The group also launched a program called Back to Home to aid those first-time homebuyers.
Last, and perhaps most important, are the long-term effects the nonprofit looks to achieve with the jumpstart from the Consumers grant. Stemming from the initial $250,000, Metro hopes to turn what would’ve been seven rehabilitated and resold houses into 36 within ten years through an invest, reinvest, repeat policy.
“It is literally the gift that continues to give as we will leverage the proceeds from each home sale to purchase and renovate additional homes,” Glowiak said. “This will multiply the momentum for cultivating pride, ownership and reinvestment in our community.”