WUOMFM

$500K grants will help Grand Rapids area nonprofits supply affordable housing

Aug 4, 2017

Two Grand Rapids area nonprofits will use new grant money to help supply affordable housing.

The grants came from Project Reinvest: Neighborhoods, a program of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit NeighborWorks America. It awarded a $500,000 grant to both Habitat for Humanity of Kent County and LINC Up. 

NeighborWorks America is a coalition of public and private partners that want to create affordable housing for communities throughout the country.

BriAnne McKee, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, says the grants going to two separate groups shows that organizations in the city can work together to solve issues.

“But also it demonstrates the need for this kind of intentional investment in affordable housing in our neighborhoods,” McKee said.

Organizations in Kalamazoo and Detroit also received grant money from NeighborWorks America to create affordable housing. McKee says the grant is important because many minimum wage workers can’t afford to own homes in the city.  And McKee says that's a really big problem. 

“As housing plays such a critical role in ensuring that people have that basic need met so they can have the opportunity to thrive and meet all the other needs in their lives,” she said.

According to a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, people in Michigan need to earn more than $16 an hour to afford the average two-bedroom rental home in the state. In other words, full-time minimum wage workers would have to nearly double their weekly hours to afford the average monthly rent.