Citizens District Council Minutes 03-05-2013

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Citizen’s District Council Meeting
City of Muskegon CDBG
Conference Room 203
Muskegon, Michigan
Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The meeting was called to order by the Chairman, Tom Pastoor at 5:40 p.m.

Roll call was taken by Laura Hichue
Present:             Chris Carter, Addie Sanders-Randall, Tom Pastoor, Billie Quinn,
                     Lea Markowski, Rosalind Ford, Virgie Jackson
Absent:              Lori Rasmussen
Staff Present:       Oneata Bailey, Laura Hichue
Guest:               Dr. Zawdie Abiade

Chris Carter made a motion to approve the minutes from the February 5, 2013, meeting.
Addie Sanders-Randall seconded the motion which passed unanimously.

Oneata reviewed the changes that were discussed at the previous meeting to keep the
membership of the CDC to 7 citizens instead of building back up to 9, having the
quorum at 4 instead of 5. The membership would be 4 Ward representatives and 3
Citizens-at-Large. The change was currently out for public comment for people to
understand that the Citizen Participation Plan was changing to 7 citizens.



Oneata explained to the board what the process was with the applicants coming before
the council that evening. She stated that Habitat for Humanity was going to be the first
applicant to present. Based on what was on their application for the 2013 budget year,
starting July 1, they were proposing to build 2 affordable housing units in the City. She
then stated Community Encompass would be 2nd and Trinity Housing 3rd.

Jodi Nichols, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Muskegon County and Mike
McIntyre, Building Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity introduced themselves and were
introduced to each council member.

Jodi stated that they had plans for 2 construction projects in the Lakeside Neighborhood
and they were requesting $39,000 to help fund the infrastructure portion of the 2 new
homes. Habitat received 2 donated properties where they will be building the new
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homes. She explained that they will be sold to low-income families with a zero-interest
loan to make them affordable. The $39,000 will be used for infrastructure costs that are
usually not covered by grants or other programs. These include excavating, utilities
hookups, permits, energy-efficient foundation, driveways and sidewalks.

Jodi explained the advantages of new construction rather than rehabilitation; the costs
are sometimes actually lower than rehabbing; the end product is better for the family;
there are many things that cannot be done with volunteers when rehabbing because of
safety reasons.

She explained Lakeside was chosen because of the donated properties and also the
impact it may have on a neighborhood with home-ownership and that Lakeside was
gaining in rental properties.

Jodi passed around a photo collage of properties where they have demolished old
houses and constructed brand new homes to emphasize what new construction can
provide to a neighborhood.

She further stated that the median property values in the City of Muskegon are $74,000;
Habitat for Humanity properties normally have appraised values of $85,000 or more
which would strengthen the neighborhood with higher property values.

Jodi stated the families that donated the properties, on Grove and on Leon, were
anxious to have Habitat build there and the community had inquired when they were
going to build in Lakeside.

She then passed out a flyer about the Habitat ownership program. Habitat serves
those at the 25% - 50% (up to 60%) area median income level. Jodi also explained
the impact home-ownership has on families and the positive affect on children and a
sense of stability.

Jodi explained that the monthly payment for an $85,000 mortgage is usually less than
$500, and that includes taxes and insurance. There is no interest and in 20 years they
own the home outright. The homes are also being built as Energy Star efficient and
save money for the owners on their utility bills. Mike McIntyre stated the average
combined electrical and gas bills are less than $100.

Jodi stated the homebuyer goes into a 20 year partnership with Habitat, including taking
financial management classes, homeownership classes, and building the home with
the volunteers which makes it more of an investment on the buyer’s part. There also
are tax revenues coming into the City and local contractors are used.

Chris Carter asked if different site plans would be used for each location.

Mike McIntyre stated they try to fit the site plan with the design of the neighborhood and
give it curb appeal. The size of the house is as small as local code allows and they are
barrier free with a ramp or sidewalk usually on the rear of the house, doors are barrier
free width as well as interior items that meet barrier free.

Chris asked if a decision had been made on what type house they were going to build
on the sites.

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Jodi explained they have not done the screening process yet and stated how that was
performed. The construction depends on the size of the families selected and their
needs. The funds would be used between the two house proposed.

Chris asked if they still did student-build houses.

Jodi explained that Habitat no longer did that but have partnered with Career Tech
Center and they had their own program. Community volunteers and the owner(s) would
be doing much of the labor.

Mike McIntyre explained that the houses were constructed with possibility to grow with a
bath roughed-in in the basement and an egress window.

Commissioner Markowski asked if appliances were included.

Jodi stated a stove and refrigerator are provided by Whirlpool with opportunity to
purchase additional ones, such as a dishwasher or washer/dryer as part of the interest
free mortgage. .

Commissioner Markowski asked if Habitat homes conform to LEED.

Mike stated they all probably would be but they don’t pay to get LEED certified; the
homes are constructed to National Green-Build Standards. LEED certification usually
costs around $2000 and that would decrease savings for the homeowner, but the
energy efficiency directly saves the homeowner money.

Jodi and Mike thanked the council for their time to listen to their presentation.

The next applicant to present was Virginia Taylor from Community Encompass. The
agency is requesting $70,000 in HOME funding. She was introduced to the council

Virginia gave a brief background presentation of what her organization is about. Since
1997 they have focused mainly on providing affordable rental and transitional housing.
They have been primarily in McLaughlin neighborhood with some in the Nelson and
Angell neighborhoods. The agency acquires properties through donations, CDBG
HOME Funds and MSHDA programs and turns them into safe, affordable homes.
Prospective tenants are assigned a case manager and are encouraged to become
involved with the neighborhood.

Virginia stated that they do not do just rentals; some of the MSHDA funds have been
used to do moderate rehabs, primarily in the Nelson neighborhood, for homeowners.
They have assisted seniors and owners with disabilities and they partner with other
agencies to get the home livable.

She stated they have also done 3 NSP home projects in the McLaughlin Neighborhood.
Two of them have been sold and one is currently for sale. They have also applied this
year to do an Acquisition Rehab-Sale home. It will provide home-ownership for the

She reviewed how 2 years ago they rehabbed a home on Fifth Street and some others
in the area and the impact it had on the neighborhood.
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The $70,000 they are requesting will be used towards the purchase of a building on
Terrace Street across from City Hall. They have also applied for the Mortgage
Settlement Funds through MSHDA and have a purchase agreement in place. Their
vision is to have community space in the lower level for their citizens to gather and
provide rental units. The MSHDA funds would be used to purchase the building and
provide market rate rentals units and with the HOME funds renovate 2 units and make
them affordable. This would provide different levels of income in the building. If they do
not receive the MSHDA funds, the $70.000 would be used to purchase other properties
throughout the McLaughlin and Nelson neighborhoods that need repair and renovate

Virginia stated they would like to create more one-bedroom units as the demand is quite
high for that. They also can use some of the HOME funds for a match with MSHDA
funds and connect it with other grants.

Mr. Pastoor asked how many units would be in the building on Terrace Street. Virginia
stated there are four one-bedroom units and would not require a lot of remodeling.
They also would like to use part of the building for maintenance and training. She
stated if they don’t receive the MSHDA funds for purchasing the Terrace Street building,
there are many other uses for the HOME funds.

Virginia stated that 100% of the HOME funds from the City would be used to renovate 2
units in that building; no part of those funds would be used for acquisition.

Mr. Carter asked what their intent was for the entire building – if their offices would be
moving there and would the income from the rental units pay for the lower level.

Virginia stated they would not move their office to that location although some staff may
be there for different things and the income from the rental units would maintain the
lower level. They may have another type of use for one portion of the lower level.

Mr. Carter asked if there were specific projects targeted for use of the $70,000 HOME
funds if they don’t proceed with the Terrace Street building.

Virginia stated they have a list of properties available they are interested in and would
probably use the HOME funds to purchase and rehab a multiple unit building.

Mr. Carter asked if they think they could support a community center at the Terrace
Street building financially.

Virginia stated it would be more of a training center rather than a community center.
They may also provide space for neighborhood citizens to use. They could also rent out
one of the spaces on the first floor if more funds are needed. She also stated that if
they did get the MSHDA funds, they would have more in reserve to draw from to make it
a viable project.

Commissioner Markowski asked if Community Encompass included appliances with
their rentals.

Virginia said they did provide appliances and that included washers and dryers in most,
however theft has become a problem. She further stated Sacred Suds Laundromat is
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available in the neighborhood for $1.00 to wash and dry including soap. If they do
acquire the Terrace Street property, there would be a washer and dryer available for
free in the basement and storage units in the basement.

The next applicant was introduced.

Effie Grandberry and Judith Transue representing Trinity Housing introduced
themselves to the council members.

Mr. Pastoor stated they were requesting $54,000 in HOME Funds and asked them to
explain their plans for the funds.

Judith stated that there were two things the money would be used for. A portion of the
funds would be matched with NSP Program income from the County to acquire, rehab
and sell 2 tax-foreclosed homes. They are targeting Marquette Neighborhood area to
continue renovations in that area from the Oakview/Sheldon Park Neighborhoods. Part
of the HOME funds would be used for the acquisition and soft costs involved with
purchasing 2 properties. The rehab would be paid by program income.

The second use of the HOME funds would be to organize a homebuyer
education/financial literacy program. They would like to expand the opportunities for
homebuyer education and part of the funds would be used to pay for a National Training
and Certification program through NeighborWorks, a national training program
company. The program would focus on the mortgage process, financial literacy,
budgeting and include counseling and credit restoration, which has become a critical
issue in the community.

Mr. Pastoor asked what the breakdown of the $54,000 would be.

Judith explained the costs of different programs.

Oneata explained that all purchasers in the City of Muskegon, Habitat for Humanity,
Community Encompass homebuyer programs are required to take a pre-purchase class
and the proposed Program would be a second alternative to the MOCAP education

Effie stated it would give another alternative and provide additional assistance with
counseling and credit restoration.

Mr. Carter asked if anyone would be able to take the program or do they have to be
purchasing a home.

Effie said even if they are not buying a home, they can take the education program. If
you are an applicant for a purchase, the program will be free.

Mr. Carter asked what the $1500 cost would be for.

Judith explained that it would be for the training and certification of Effie to be able to
facilitate the program. The program would be funded with MSHDA and fees.

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Commissioner Markowski asked if there were income limits for participants of the
homebuyer education class or credit counseling.

Effie explained that income limits would be for those purchasing a home.

The focus would be for those wanting to buy a house and needing to repair their credit.

That completed the presentations by the applicants.

Mr. Pastoor asked what did the group want to do and was there a time commitment
made to the applicants when the decisions would be made.

Oneata said there was not but it should be made by the next meeting.

Discussion took place as to what date the next meeting will be due to Spring Break
being the week of the next scheduled meeting. The decision was to meet on Thursday,
April 11, 2013, at 5:30 p.m.

Mr. Carter asked what the total amount to be allocated.

Oneata stated possibly around $200,000 with $20,000 committed for HOME
Administration, leaving $180,000 to be allocated out. Also, rental rehab would come
out of that and any construction the City may do. With sales of the remaining homes
the City has, there would be program income to help fund future projects.

Commissioner Markowski asked what the amount was needed for the City’s portion of
the funds.

Oneata stated approximately $40,000, for administration and rental rehab.

Mr. Pastoor questioned Trinity Housing’s request if there was a need for that type of
program when there are others in place that are similar. He also questioned the request
from Community Encompass to have a barrier free accessible unit on the 2nd floor of the
Terrace Street building how that would be possible.

Rosalind Ford moved to table discussion and decisions on the proposals until the April
11, 2013 meeting.

Billie Quinn seconded the motion which carried unanimously. Included in the motion
was to table the rest of the March meeting’s agenda until April.

Oneata stated that the 2013 Proposed Action Plan may be ready for review at the April
meeting also and the 3 proposals may be included but there won’t be a budget until the
plan has been voted on.

Discussion took place regarding the various projects each agency has done and Oneata
said she would include some pictures of the finished houses in the packets.

The meeting adjourned at 7:05 p.m.

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