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Jackson City Council hits the pause button on a housing project

Posted at 5:05 PM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 17:05:06-04

JACKSON, Mich. — Jackson city officials are looking at creating transitional housing, but a recent vote signals the City Council wants different options.

At its most recent City Council meeting, council members voted to postpone approving a contract to complete a home renovation that could be turned into transitional housing.

In a 6-1 vote, Jackson City Council members put the pause on a $200,000 contract for a renovation at a home on Hollywood Street.

“Some of the council members felt that they weren’t sure if that was a good use of the city’s money,” Public Information Officer Aaron Dimick said. “They expected it to be at a different cost, so some of them were concerned the city would be spending $200,000 wanting to look at other options.”

The issue goes back months.

Last November, Jackson City Council approved spending up to $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to bring back to life vacant city-owned homes.

The purpose? Give love-income residents a chance to be homeowners.

“There is a lack of housing for people of a low to moderate income,” Dimick said. “There’s specifically an issue with housing for people who are maybe getting out of a homeless situation or a dependency/addiction situation, and they need a home to get them from A to B. When we have lots of houses like this just sitting empty in the city that are owned by city government, we look at ways to bring them back to usefulness, so they can be used by the community.”

Five houses were earmarked to be rehabilitated and used for transitional housing, including the Hollywood Street house. A house on Homewild already had its contract approved for rehabilitation for just under $190,000.

“$200,000 for a two-bedroom, 800-square-foot house renovation is a lot of money,” Council Member Laura Dwyer-Schlecte said. “As Council Member Will Forgrave said, it’s like building a new house around the old and that just doesn’t really make sense. We should be doing our due diligence to look at options.”

According to officials, this by no means marks the end of this project as they want to consider other options that may be more affordable. Council will look at this project again at its next meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

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