November 1, 2014

Housing project targets Pinconning

By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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PINCONNING — Funds granted to Bay Area Housing (BAH), Bay City, by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority will be used to rehabilitate four homes in the city of Pinconning and assist middle or low-income homebuyers in purchasing the renovated houses.

Brenda Christian, President of Bay Area Housing, says the program can increase affordability and reduce utility costs for new homebuyers interested in moving to Pinconning due to its developing economy and rural/small town environment.

“If they (buyers) don’t have children, we have up to $5,000 in down payment assistance. If they do have children, we have up to $10,000 available for down payment assistance,” Christian said, adding that $20,000 will also be allotted per home for energy-efficient improvements, such as new windows and heating systems, which can decrease utility costs. “We’re hoping that by doing that (making the homes energy-efficient), that the cost of living is dramatically reduced.

“What we are doing is trying to keep homes affordable first and foremost, and safe.”

$10,000 will also be allocated for lead paint abatement in each home. The total value of the grant is $111,000.

According to Christian, the program works by first qualifying the buyer by BAH income standards and requiring the buyer(s) to attend home-ownership meetings and counseling to ensure the potential buyers are qualified for mortgages. Also, she added, that the homes must currently be for sale.

“It can be for sale by owner or by a real estate agent,” Christian said. “It needs to be a vacant home or it has to be a home where the homeowner occupies the house.”

She also adds the homebuyers must not currently own a home.

Short-term, there are also expectation for the city, says Pinconning City Manager Dick Byrne, especially if the homes are currently uninhabited or being lived in by a single person and a family moves into the houses.

“If we have younger families, that means they’re going to school and spending money in the community,” Byrne said. “I can’t see where it (housing project) can do any harm.”

While the immediate impact of the project is giving homebuyers an affordable option, Christian says there will also be long-term benefits.

“All the work we’re doing in these homes raises the overall equity in these homes,” she said. “In the long-term, we’re giving these homeowners value.”

According to Byrne, the overall real estate market of the city can also be affected, since, he says the renovations can possibly be “contagious.”

Christian affirmed Byrne’s theory saying homeowners who don’t receive grant funds often make renovations when they their neighbors doing it and added that BAH restructured its housing project program two years ago to target specific communities or neighborhoods, rather than spreading grant funds out over a large geographic area. The restructured program targeted a neighborhood in southeastern Bay City rather than just Bay City as whole.

“If you target your funds you have a greater impact on that neighborhood,” Christian said. “The more that happens, the more property values get shot up in the neighborhoods.”

Currently, BAH is in the process of performing an environmental review in Pinconning to narrow its targets for the housing project.

And the city is ready to help. Byrne says the officials of the city will do “Whatever they (BAH) want us to do.

“If they want some suggestions on certain properties, we’ll help them. We’ll help them with building codes, with zoning, with inspections.”

For more information, call 989-893-9292 or visit www.bahinc.org.

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