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GR's Affordable Housing Fund grows by nearly $1M

University of Minnesota

The City Commission authorized the first deposit of $957,365.78 to the City of Grand Rapids Affordable Housing Fund, marking the first major deposit since the fund was established to address racial and ethnic disparities in housing in Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids' City Commission authorized more than $950k to Grand Rapids Affordable Housing Fund last week. The money marks the first major deposit since the fund was established to address racial and ethnic disparities in housing in Grand Rapids and preserve and increase affordable housing supply.

Through the City’s housing practice leader, Housing Next, the fund will help assist low- and moderate-income residents, preserve existing affordable housing, offer gap-financing for new affordable and mixed-income housing development and make bridge loans for acquisition and pre-development costs with nonprofit developers.

The recent deposit represents the remaining money from the roughly $1.15 million investment envisioned in the City’s 2021 Fiscal Plan less $250,000 invested in the La Lucha Fund to support undocumented residents of Grand Rapids during the pandemic.

Chief Financial Officer, Molly Clarin, and Deputy City Manager, Eric DeLong, will provide initial instructions to the GRCF for investment of the funds.

The commission is expected to appoint members to the Affordable Housing Fund Board (AHFB) in the new year. The board will also begin drafting a Request For Proposals (RFP) for investment of $5 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money in development of affordable housing. The AHFB will make recommendations to the City Commission on those investments as part of the RFP process.

The board will make all spending and distribution decisions in the form of recommendations to the City Commission designed to make housing more accessible to residents of the city. It may evaluate and determine property acquisition, preservation and pre-development loan funds for qualified and experienced nonprofit housing partners. It also will be empowered to support gap financing to support mixed-income, nonprofit and for-profit development projects that include affordable housing, as well as income-qualified homeowner assistance grants/loans to support necessary repairs, reduced energy costs and climate resilience and additions for accessory dwelling units.

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