State Takes New Approach to Housing, Growing Workforce

Michigan communities working to attract and retain businesses now have a new pilot program to create affordable housing in the hope of recruiting employees to work for those new job creators.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority recently unveiled “MSHDA Mod,” which encourages communities to construct modular housing using a five-year repayable $196,000 grant to construct spec models of the homes. The funding covers delivery, taxes, site preparation, assembly and related construction costs.

 “We have taken a conceptual idea and turned it into a funded, operational and functional program in about six months,” said MSHDA Executive Director Earl Poleski. “MSHDA Mod reduces the typical single-family home construction timeline and allows housing to be made available for immediate occupancy during the 2019 construction season.”

Poleski said MSHDA Mod provides a practical workforce housing solution and attracts income-eligible homebuyers to Michigan. MSHDA will finance the first model so potential buyers can see and learn more about the cost-effective housing option. The prototype will initially be used for marketing purposes, Poleski explained. Once three additional homes are constructed and sold, the prototype will be sold and proceeds may be used to build an additional unit.

The first grant agreement is with the city of Coldwater, which plans to have a spec model in place by early summer. Additional funds have been reserved and a formal grant award process is underway with Habitat for Humanity of Northeast Michigan. Stakeholders in Kalamazoo and Muskegon also have expressed interest and are in talks with the housing authority to bring the program to their communities.

The program uses modular and panelized manufacturing technology in primarily rural areas where labor and materials are scarce.

Local units of government or nonprofits interested in the pilot program should email Tonya Young at hidmailbox@michigan.gov for more details.

 

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