Bay Area Group Uses Stimulus To Rehab Homes 9-23-2010 - WNEM TV 5

Bay Area Group Uses Stimulus To Rehab Homes 9-23-2010

Many people might wonder how federal stimulus money is being used locally. The money was designed to pump life into the local economy in Mid-Michigan and elsewhere.
WNEM TV5's Craig McMorris discovered a unique stimulus-related program that works with nonprofits to rehabilitate local properties.
Bay Area Housing, a local nonprofit, is renovating four homes in Bay County, using $550,000 it received as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. The money is distributed through the neighborhood stabilization program.
TV5 uncovered that Flint will receive at least $25 million and Saginaw will get $17 million through the program.
Construction crews recently sank their teeth into one Bay City home in the hopes of transforming it and finding someone to buy it.
Homeowner June Williams thinks it could potentially be a good thing for her neighborhood. "Well, I think it's fine," Williams said. "It's better than being left with no one in it."
Bay Area Housing said it bought the foreclosed house for about $39,000. It will spend $53,000 in stimulus money renovating it, and then the nonprofit hopes to sell it for upwards of $85,000.
One viewer e-mailed TV5 with concerns that the property will become so attractive to buyers that they'll shy away from other homes on the market. In his e-mail, he also expressed fear that his property taxes will go up.
Williams shares the same concern. "It certainly will do harm to me; it'll raise my taxes again," she said.
But, she also knows it may be a small price to pay for the progress being made in her neighborhood.
The project has the blessing of the local Realtor Association member and neighbor Bob Adamowski, and he weighed in on concerns the work on the homes would increase property taxes.
"A lot of houses [are] for sale in Bay City," said Adamowski. "When we're looking at a grand total of 1,300 to 1,500 homes selling over the course of a year's time, one or two or three homes isn't going to make a difference in that respect."
Another plus of the project is it puts people to work. "I've got three guys working for me," said contractor Lonnie Dowd. "It brings the electricians in and the plumbers and the mechanical guys, so everybody gets a little piece of the pie."
Officials said the work on the four homes in Bay County is expected to be finished up by Thanksgiving.
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