Madison Heights Program to Provide Repairs to Qualified Homes

The Madison Heights area south of Lincoln Avenue and north of Interstate 696 between Decoinder Road and Stephenson Highway will be eligible for a repair program beginning next summer.

Madison Heights – The program currently being developed by the City of Madison Heights will provide eligible homeowners with affordable home repairs starting next summer, once funds are approved by the federal government.

The city has budgeted for employees to work on creating “neighborhood improvement” areas that will help increase home repair opportunities, law enforcement education and utilities that will be funded through various means, including the allocation of $3,000 from the General Fund, and $26,000 through a development grant community, $25,000 through the Michigan Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), and private contributions totaling $27,000.

City manager Melissa Marsh saw an opportunity to expand it further. In April 2022, the city partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County to develop the Madison Heights Neighborhood Regeneration Fund. The City and Habitat together have applied for a federal grant through the Community Projects Fund for Fiscal Year 2023, which will bring in an additional $1 million in funding for the selected area of ​​Madison Heights south of Lincoln Avenue and north of Interstate 696, located between Decoinder Road and Stephenson Highway, as approved. It is by MSHDA.

The program will be multifaceted, helping Madison Heights homeowners repair and replace furnaces, hot water heaters, kitchens, bathrooms, countertops, sides, floors, porches, and more.

“We received positive responses with the grant approved in the upcoming federal appropriations bill,” Marsh said in an email interview. “While this is excellent news, and an important step in approval, we must now wait for the Appropriations Committee to approve, pass the House and Senate, and then sign it off the President.”

She said she expects all necessary components to be ready to start the program in the summer of 2023. As for the area that will qualify at the southern end of the city, Marsh indicated there is a high concentration of the program. Low-income housing is there where many individuals cannot easily afford home repairs.

“The homes in the designated area were built during the 1950s and have deteriorated over the years due to normal wear and tear,” Marsh said. “This project will address home repair issues in this section of the city, and will help homeowners who will not be doing home repairs themselves. The program will be open to anyone living in this area, with the preferences of elderly and disabled homeowners.”

Homes in the designated area include 14 condos, 34 condos, 116 mobile homes, and nearly 1,600 condos. Most residential dwellings are single-family ranch style homes, with average ages ranging from 60-70 years.

Habitat will administer the fund on behalf of the city, with staff dedicated to homeowner-occupied renovations and financial advice. Not only will they review the application with each owner, but they will also review other programs that may provide financial assistance. Eligible residents can apply for these during the process as well, with Habitat submitting the application on their behalf.

“Although (Habitat) are construction professionals with extensive knowledge of construction management and compliance, they are also a compassionate team of individuals who are dedicated to people who partner through their programs,” said Marsh. “Providing affordable repairs by qualified professional contractors keeps people in their homes. Habitat guarantees the quality of each project with a work inspection for the duration of construction, as well as a follow-up ‘warranty check’ between 6-12 months after work is completed.”

The program, as currently proposed, will see Habitat save residents up to $25,000 for home improvements at 0% interest and payment options of up to seven years. A typical repair project cost for 2022 is $25,000. Families with an AMI (Area Median Income) of 0-50% will receive a grant without the need for a refund. Families with an average gross income of 50-80% will pay 45%, and families with an income of 80% will pay 90% without interest.

And repairs to qualified homeowners are just one part of what the city plans to do with neighborhood improvement areas. Staff are also considering educational events, such as a public group party in the designated area, that would help inform residents about the program, as well as raise awareness of issues such as lawn cutting and rodent control.

“This program will create a healthier community for all of Madison Heights,” Marsh said. “It will not only help prevent displacement of individuals who may not be able to keep their homes in livable condition, but it will also help homeowners make necessary repairs to maintain a safe and healthy living environment. The project can upgrade properties to code, and upgrade for efficiency energy, increasing the attractiveness of the reduction.”

In a series of emails, Mayor Roslyn Grafstein and City Councilor Mark Bliss shared their thoughts on the program.

“To be able to offer this program at all is a huge win, and the kind of innovative thinking that makes me proud to be a part of our city council,” Bliss said. “Many people will be positively affected by this program. I hope, and our plan, is to continue this in more neighborhoods in the city in the coming years.”

Grafstein added, “The funding is intended to help struggling homeowners with needed repairs and upgrades. These upgrades will in turn help stabilize and improve the community. By investing this money reasonably now in small improvements to daily living, we will see in the long run higher home prices, and more Pride in ownership, and more sense of community.”

%d bloggers like this: