FLINT, MI — Flint residents looking to make repairs or improvements to their homes can now apply for low- or no-interest loans of up to $20,000 through the Flint Home Improvement Fund.
To be eligible, applicants must own and occupy a single-family home in the city of Flint as their primary residence. Funding is available for homeowners of all income levels and is not contingent upon the assessed value of a home, according to a joint press release from Genesee County Habitat for Humanity and Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
In addition, homeowners may not have to pay back the entire amount borrowed. The amount to be paid back will be determined on a sliding scale based on household income.
“This is a golden opportunity for residents to be able to make home improvements at a fraction of the cost,” Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. “The Flint Home Improvement Fund is a groundbreaking partnership that I am so proud is being launched in our city to help families, neighborhoods and the overall community.”
Partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors have come together to create and promote the Flint HIF, which will be managed by Genesee County Habitat for Humanity. Other partners include the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, city of Flint, the Community Foundation of Greater Flint (CFGF), Genesee County Land Bank Authority, Huntington National Bank, Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and the Neighborhood Engagement Hub.
The Mott Foundation granted a total of $661,878 to provide funding for no-interest home repair loans for low-income Flint residents and to support Habitat’s management of the program. MSHDA contributed $500,000 from its Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds, which will be used to help homeowners with low-to-moderate incomes make improvements and repairs. CFGF granted $15,000 in funding for staff support to facilitate the loan program. In addition, Huntington will provide low-interest, unsecured home improvement loans for all income- and credit-qualifying borrowers, per the press release.
“This is an exciting partnership that will remove the barriers many residents have faced in making repairs and improvements to their homes,” Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Mott Foundation, said. “And that positive change will add up, home by home, to help strengthen neighborhoods across the city.”
Loans through the Flint HIF can be used for a variety of repair and improvement projects, including but not limited to:
- Furnace and hot water heater replacement
- Roof replacement or repairs
- Kitchen and bath upgrades
- Deck and porch replacement
- New siding
“This is a monumental step toward creating a system where all homeowners in the city of Flint can access funds to improve their homes,” Thomas Hutchison, executive director of Genesee County Habitat for Humanity, said. “By helping residents access capital to improve their homes with flexible and affordable repayment options, the Flint Home Improvement Fund strives to create strong neighborhoods where residents can maintain their homes while avoiding burdensome debt.”
It’s an approach MSHDA hopes will extend beyond Flint.
“This collaboration fits our guiding principle of engaging partners in creating innovative, sustainable housing solutions,” Gary Heidel, acting executive director at MSHDA, said. “We’re glad to pilot the program in Flint with such strong partners and hope to replicate it in communities across the state.”
Greg Viener, president of Huntington’s mid-Michigan region, said homeownership is a powerful tool to help people improve their lives and build wealth.
After Flint homeowners apply to the Flint HIF, Genesee County Habitat for Humanity will work with them to see which funding applies to their income level and situation, as well as to answer any questions they may have, according to organizers of the new program.
“With sliding scale repayment options on these low- to no-interest loans, there is no reason not to apply,” Hutchinson said. “Even if you don’t qualify now, we will work to find a way to put you in a position where you can access these or other funds to repair your home.”
Because loan approval will be based on funds available at the time of application, residents are encouraged to apply early. To support even more homeowners, Flint HIF partners are looking to bring additional resources to the fund.
To learn more or apply, visit Flint-HIF.org or call 810-766-9089, ext. 213.