89.1 WEMU

Ypsilanti Housing Commission Receive Funds For Combined Affordable Housing, Social Services

Sep 30, 2015

The Ypsilanti Housing Commission has received $90,000 from the Kresge Foundation and other groups like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, KeyBank and Goldman Sachs. The funds will allow help provide a social worker to work one-on-one with low income families in need. 


Thousands of residents who live at affordable housing buildings, such as Paradise Manor, will now have a social worker provided through Eastern Michigan University.

Its part of a program called the Strong Families Fund. A press release explains:

The Strong Families Fund is expected to finance construction or renovation of 600 to 700 affordable-housing units in the next three years. It will also support on-site access to high-quality social-services coordination over the next decade.

 

 The first funded project is Deborah Strong Housing, in Ypsilanti, Mich. The complex, named in memory of a longtime housing advocate in Ypsilanti, is rehabilitating 112 units of affordable family housing.

 

 The fund combines federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits for capital development with a pay-for-performance model to provide access to up to 10 years of incentive payments to housing developments.

The Executive Director of the Ypsilanti Housing Commission, Zachary Fosler, says the on-site employees could help residents transition out of affordable housing, learn about education opportunities and learn how to improve their health.

"Ideally, what we’d like to see is a family that comes in and receives services from this program and comes out in a better spot - meaning they’re more self sufficient."

Fosler said the opportunity was a unique one:

“We struggle to secure the funds to offer these types of programming, yet the outcomes we are seeing with people are just unreal," he said. "This fund is promising for the housing industry, and I hope that we can see this replicated across the country.”

Funding for this program is available for renewal for ten years.
 

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— Jorge Avellan is the Ann Arbor beat reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him studio@wemu.org