JACKSON, Mich. — Jackson City Council plans to use $1 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to rehab vacant city-owned homes for low-income residents with housing needs.
That's in addition to the $3.5 million from the American Rescue plan that the Council allocated for homelessness services and housing when it approved the Affordable Housing Development Board last week.
Mayor Derek Dobies said they have the resources and structures to do it.
“Doing so in this fashion is a way that we can repurpose vacant, underutilized properties, put people into those homes through the inclement weather and then figure out how we dispose of those properties through sale to low and moderate income individuals who are looking to be first time homebuyers or to continue to use those in addressing the affordable housing that we face,” he said.
The city owns five homes that could be rehabilitated quickly for people who need a place to live.
“Traditionally, we’ve used some of our hotels and motels in the surrounding area to get those people out of the cold and get them back into housing,” Dobies said. “Frankly, some of the individuals have just recently lost their homes. Some of those individuals that have recently talked at recent city council meetings, I think are perfect candidates for getting into homes and helping to help people who have recently lost their home, but may be kind of working poor to be able to step into homeownership and build some equity and build financial stability in their lives.”
It will be up to the city administration and the next council to figure out which city-owned houses will get rehabilitated.
“I think we as a City Council recognize the need that exists immediately to rapidly rehouse individuals that are suffering from housing insecurity and appropriating $1 million to renovate some city-owned homes for that purpose makes a heck of a lot of sense,” he said.
The redevelopment of chosen city-owned vacant homes would include lead removal by a licensed lead abatement contractor and removal of other “obsolete and dangerous components” plus a full rehab by local licensed residential builders.
Dobies believes the program will make Jackson a leader in affordable housing solutions.
“The City Council and the city of Jackson is putting a high value on addressing the affordable housing crisis that we have here in the city and working in a long-term approach to preserving and developing future affordable housing across our community,” he said.
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