GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Twelve areas in West Michigan will receive grant money from thestate to help deal with the foreclosure crisis.
Seven homes in the Garfield Park neighborhood will be bought andrehabilitated through a grant by the MichiganState Housing Development Authority.
The grant, worth $820,000, is part of a $10.1 million grant for34 cities, counties and non-profit organizations to help areasblighted by foreclosures.
All the grant money for Garfield Park will be used to fixadditional homes and possibly build a community center.
Other areas around the state include Portage ($145,000 for five homes;) the Bethany Housing Ministries in Muskegon ($225,000for three homes;) the Neighborhood Investment Corporation, also inMuskegon ($196,400 to tear down five homes and rehab fiveothers;) the Midtown Neighborhood in Holland ($404,000 for sixhomes;) the City of Three Rivers ($233,745 to tear down fivehomes and acquire five foreclosed homes;) the City of Sturgis ($42,000 to demolish fourproperties;) the Battle Creek Area Habitat for Humanity ($180,000for three homes;) the Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity ($60,000 torehab three homes;) the Kent County Habitat for Humanity ($280,000 forfive homes;) and the Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity ($208,000 for fourhomes.)
The funding is provided through the federal NeighborhoodStabilization Program (NSP) as part of the competitive grantprocess.
“By eliminating blight, we will help make neighborhoodssafer for citizens and more inviting for businesses and economicinvestments,” Gov. Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.
The Garfield Park neighborhood is one of the areas that willbenefit. Just south of Burton Avenue is an example of aneighborhood's vitality that community organizers want to keepintact.
However, while neighborhoods are kept up by homeowners,foreclosure properties have been an eyesore for others.
About 784 homes are in foreclosure in the neighborhood now,according to Foreclosure Response, a nonprofit. That is almost onein six homes.
Lighthouse Communities is another nonprofit that will coordinatewith other groups. With $820,000 in grant money, it will will buyseven residential properties or homes and one commercial propertyfor a developmental center.
These foreclosures have made a crushing impact on homeowners,said Kathleen Woodstra, of the Garfield Park NeighborhoodAssociation.
"We have streets that almost every house is vacant, and it hasreally taken away from the neighborhood feeling and the quality ofliving for those that are left and their re-sellability," Woodstrasaid.
Lighthouse Communities has not selected the homes it willpurchase.
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