East Lansing Unveils Housing Program

It's a loan geared toward low-income families who can help fix up some of the older homes in the area and become homeowners to boot.

The city of East Lansing knows it's a relatively pricey place to put down roots, and the added cost of home repairs is an obstacle to ownership in the student neighborhoods. That's why they say they need the program.

It offers as much as a $24,999 loan for critical repairs to the program, plus $10,000 for the down payment. There are limitations to help the people most in need. Income requirements, for example:

1-person household making less than $36,200
2-person household making less than $41,350
3-person household making less than $46,500
4-person household making less than $51,700
5-person household making less than $55,800
6-person household making less than $59,950

The money is not for renters, or their landlords, but it is apt to many homes that were once rental properties. Those houses need a lot of work, and this grant is designed to help low-income families put some money into them, and then put roots in this community.

Some may be concerned with living among the students, but East Lansing Community Development analyst Stephanie Gingerich says many house hunters want to live among students. She says the barrier is the cost of housing, about $135,000 for an average two-bedroom home. Realtors say most buyers are looking for the investment opportunity, turning the homes into rental properties.

The city says they want to encourage home ownership to make the neighborhoods their nicest, and to support East Lansing's schools.

For more info, visit www.cityofeastlansing.org or contact the East Lansing Planning and Development Department at 319-6930.