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January 29, 2013

MSHDA launches MI Neighborhood Program, applications due by March 22

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Written by: Bruce Snook
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LANSING – The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) is hoping its ongoing efforts to revitalize cities will be a catalyst for a new program that aims to create a renaissance in neighborhoods.

MSHDA on Monday (January 28th) rolled out MI Neighborhood, an exciting new program that seeks communities that want to complement a Main Street or traditional commercial district revitalization project with a nearby neighborhood redevelopment.

“This program is based on the premise of the Main-Street-Four-Point Approach™ used by the Michigan Main Street Center,” said Scott Woosley, Executive Director of MSHDA. “Just as we did with downtowns, we have developed an approach for successful neighborhoods. The result will be vibrant, thriving places to live.”

Once accepted into the program through the application process, MI Neighborhood works with each targeted neighborhood association and local and statewide organizations to identify and address neighborhood needs. It connects the neighborhood with existing and emerging opportunities, which leverages resources that will help in the revitalization process.

It’s important to note that only neighborhood associations that are within one-quarter to one-half mile of a downtown or approved commercial district will be considered for entry into the program. For other eligibility criteria, visit www.michigan.gov/mshda.

MI Neighborhood provides no direct funding, but does offer valuable technical assistance and guidance about available resources.

“Our goal is to help further enhance downtowns by promoting positive changes in image, marketability, physical condition and appearance of the participating neighborhoods,” Woosley said.

The four focus areas of the MI Neighborhood program are:

  • Organization: Organizing neighborhood stakeholders to get residents working toward a common goal to implement the MI Neighborhood, a volunteer-based program.
  • Events/marketing: Creating a positive image of the neighborhood and traditional commercial district or traditional downtown to attract residents, visitors, customers and investors, as well as rekindle community pride.
  • Design: Enhancing the neighborhood’s physical environment by capitalizing on its best assets and creating an inviting atmosphere through attractive parks, home improvements, streetscapes and landscaping.
  • Neighborhood reinvestment: Create opportunities for residents to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities.

Some benefits of the program could be increased taxable values of homes within the neighborhood, a higher move-in rate, increased resident volunteer hours, higher average home prices and a greater number of neighborhood events. It also may decrease crime, foreclosure rates, vacant buildings, vacant lots, blighted properties and landlord/homeowner citations.

The MI Neighborhood application, along with a complete list of eligibility rules, is available on the MSHDA website, www.michigan.gov/mshda. Applications are due by 4 p.m. March 22. Selections will be announced by May 1.

For more details about the program, contact Lori LaPerriere at 517.241.4117 or email laperrierel1@michigan.gov.


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