The City of Battle Creek recently certified the Battle Creek Area Habitat for Humanity as a Community Development Housing Organization, qualifying Habitat to receive federal HOME funds to rehabilitate vacant homes – 438 W. Jackson St., most recently.
By law, the city must set aside 15 percent of those federal funds for a CHDO, a private, nonprofit, community-based organization with a qualified staff that uses HOME funds as a developer, owner or sponsor of affordable housing for the community it serves.
For the 2016 program year, the city received $219,000 in HOME Investment Partnership funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to encourage more affordable housing to benefit families and individuals who qualify as low-income and earn 80 percent of area median income or less - $44,400 for a family of four.
The city’s Community Development Division awarded Habitat $35,000 in HOME funds to rehabilitate 438 W. Jackson, a property Habitat built in 2009 and that experienced a fire in November 2014, leaving it vacant and abandoned. Volunteers gutted and secured the property; it will undergo renovations to be sold to a family working with Habitat for home ownership.
“Habitat’s use of volunteers and construction materials donated by companies and other contributors lowers the cost of construction for the rehabilitation of vacant homes, making reuse more affordable,” said Christine Zuzga, the city’s planning and zoning manager and vice president of Habitat’s board of directors.
Habitat also partners with low-income families, educating them about the roles and responsibilities of home owners, helping them prepare financially, and involving them in the home renovation by requiring 500 hours of sweat equity.
Habitat for Humanity of Michigan is sponsoring its 2016 Affiliates in Motion conference in Lansing this week. Zuzga and city Community Development Specialist Helen Guzzo will join local Habitat Executive Director, Beverly Kelley, in presenting a workshop about the process of becoming a CHDO and applying for HOME funds for property rehabilitation.