DBusiness Daily Update: Oakland County Investing $1M to Aid Development of Affordable Housing, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
Block of council flats in red bricks and white windows
Oakland County is awarding up to $1 million in gap funding for new construction, acquisition, rehabilitation, or preservation of affordable rental housing. // Stock Photo

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Oakland County Investing $1M to Aid Development of Affordable Housing

Oakland County’s Neighborhood & Housing Development Division is supporting the development of affordable rental housing and awarding up to $1 million in gap funding for new construction, acquisition, rehabilitation, or preservation of affordable rental housing.

“Increasing the stock of affordable housing in Oakland County is one of our strategic goals because it is key to keeping residents here and attracting new and younger people to the county,” says Oakland County Executive David Coulter. “Being a welcoming community means that anyone who wants to make Oakland County their home should be able to have a safe and affordable place to live.”

Oakland County is using a portion of its annual funding allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) for the program, which will focus on housing that also offers access to supportive services and sustainability such as walkability to jobs, groceries stores and transportation. The HOME Program is the largest federal block grant for state and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households.

To qualify as affordable housing, HOME unit rentals must be available to households at or below 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), which is approximately $53,700 for a family of four in Oakland County.

“Neighborhood & Housing Development Division (NHD) works to create livable neighborhoods and affordable housing throughout Oakland County,” says Shane Bies, manager of NHD. “We are again happy to offer gap funding for affordable rental housing developments.”

Past funding of this kind was dedicated to renovations of 234 units within the Carriage House Apartments, one of Pontiac’s largest housing developments. Updates included improving the building’s infrastructure, such as electrical work and elevator replacement, plumbing, roofs, windows, HVAC systems, landscaping, and installing a playground. The work was led by Pontiac-based nonprofit Lighthouse in partnership with the Pontiac Housing Commission and funded by Michigan State Housing Development Authority tax credits, with support from Oakland County HOME funds and reserve funds from the Pontiac Housing Commission.

For more information on funding and qualifications, visit here.

UMH-West and Grand Rapids Community College Create Pipeline of Local Nursing Talent

University of Michigan Health-West and Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) today announced a partnership to fill the critical need for nurses by combining tuition support with paid on-the-job professional experience.

“By removing cost barriers — including for adult learners and others who need to continue working while finishing their education — the program creates and nurtures a diverse pipeline of local healthcare talent,” says Dr. Peter Hahn, CEO of UMH-West.

“We see this as an investment not just in our workforce but in West Michigan itself. This is a way to ensure that the new generation of rising health care leaders reflects the communities we serve.”

The program also addresses an urgent need amid warnings of a nationwide shortage of nurses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts more than 203,000 openings for registered nurses each year through 2031.

Made possible by a grant from the University of Michigan Health-West Foundation, the program launches in December. Here is how it works:

  • Students who have completed one semester of GRCC’s Nursing Program can apply for the program and have up to three semesters of their GRCC tuition paid by UMH-West.
  • They will commit to working at UMH-West for two years upon completion of the GRCC program and becoming licensed as registered nurses.
  • During their employment as registered nurses, UMH-West will encourage and support their completion of a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) through existing partnerships and tuition reimbursement.

“GRCC has a great program and they put out some outstanding nurses,” says Steve Polega, chief nursing officer at UMH-West. “Once they have that two-year degree, they will have a chance to put their skills to work, explore their career passion and advance toward their BSN — which opens a whole new level of opportunity for nurses.”

The goal is for 10 to 15 nursing students to sign up in December and graduate in April 2023. The program seeks to enroll 10 more nursing students each of the next three semesters: December 2023, April 2024, and December 2024.

Detroit Pistons, Kroger Bringing Winter Gear Giveaway Event to Five Area Schools

To tipoff Season of Giving presented by Kroger, the Detroit Pistons are partnering with Every School Day Counts Detroit (ESDCD) to host a winter gear giveaway event across five preselected schools in metro Detroit as a part of a full-organization day of service from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 30 benefitting more than 2,800 students.

The entire Detroit Pistons team, coaching staff, and front office staff as well as the Motor City Cruise and their staff, will distribute winter coats, hats, and gloves throughout the school day on Nov. 30 to the following Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) and Charter schools, which were selected by ESDCD:

  • Gompers Elementary-Middle School
  • Amelia Earhart Elementary-Middle School
  • Trix Academy
  • Detroit Leadership Academy PK-8 School
  • Detroit Leadership Academy High School

“We look forward to coming together as a team and an organization to tipoff this year’s Season of Giving presented by Kroger with a winter gear giveaway across five Metro Detroit schools,” says Erika Swilley, vice president of community and social responsibility for the Pistons. “No child should have to worry about staying warm during the winter months, and this partnership with Every School Day Counts Detroit ensures none of these students will be without suitable gear this winter.”

In addition to the winter gear giveaway, Kroger, the presenting partner of Season of Giving, and Pistons players Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey will be making additional contributions to students and staff at the five local schools:

  • Kroger will be recognizing each of the teachers at all five schools for their hard work throughout the school year with a Kroger gift card.
  • Cunningham is gifting a total of $70,000 with $10,000 each split across the five metro Detroit schools as well as two schools in his hometown of Arlington, Texas to establish Cade’s Care Closets. The closets will provide toiletries, hygiene products and non-perishable snacks for students to access.
  • Bey is donating a total of over $5,000 in gift cards that will be divided between staff members at each of the five metro Detroit schools.

“At Kroger our purpose is to feed the human spirit by giving back to the communities we serve,” says Cam Barrett, division corporate affairs manager for Kroger Michigan. “We are extremely excited to partner with the Pistons organization this upcoming Season of Giving to not only spread holiday cheer but also make a difference to those in need.”

The winter gear giveaway event, which also gifts each student cookies and a Detroit Pistons Basketball for All basketball donated by AAA of Michigan as well as milk donated by United Dairy Industry of Michigan, will play a part in addressing chronic absences and helping ESDCD reach their long-term goal to bring Detroit’s rate of chronic absenteeism down substantially from 56 percent to 15 percent by 2027.

December Sales at Council Re | Sale Shop in Berkley to Help Shopping Dollars Go Further

Council Re|Sale (3297 W. 12 Mile Road) in Berkley is conducting special sales throughout December to help metro Detroiters look their best for the season while stretching their holiday budget.

From Dec. 8-10, Holiday Shopping Days will offer 40 percent off the entire store. Dec. 17 is Surprise Bag Sale where shoppers can stuff a bag with non-ticketed clothes and accessories, excluding jewelry for just $25. Dec. 21-24 is 60 percent off all women’s holiday dresses and men’s suits.

Council Re | Sale, operated by National Council of Jewish Women, Michigan (NCJW|MI), is known for carrying high-end clothing, including designer wear, jewelry, shoes, household items and other hidden treasures, all donated by the community.

“We know that metro Detroit families are struggling with inflation, but everyone wants to celebrate the holidays with gift-giving and new clothes,” says Sallyjo Levine, president of NCJW| MI. “While we can’t cut the cost of holiday dinners, by cutting our already-low prices on fashion wear and home goods, we hope to keep the holidays affordable for all.”

Proceeds raised at the store go toward the many community-service projects and social advocacy work which NCJW|MI, a 501(C)(3) organization, run to benefit local families.

Council Re|Sale hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; donations of clothing (not books currently) are accepted Monday through Saturday, excluding Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

For more information on Council Re|Sale go to councilresale.net.

Gesher Human Services to Host Virtual Food and Finances Program Dec. 9

Gesher Human Services in Southfield is presenting a free, virtual Financial Friday: Food and Finances presentation from 1-1:30 p.m. Dec. 9.

“For families who make too much money to qualify for food assistance, but who don’t make enough money to cope with the rising costs, the pain is real,” says Laltsha Cunningham, financial capability manager at Gesher Human Services. “We are offering our workshop to help families navigate their expenses at the grocery store more effectively. With Christmas and Chanukah coming up, there is a huge focus on food, and we want to help people stay within their budget while enjoying the season.”

Some of the topics which will be discussed include:

  • Downloading food apps to find lower food prices in stores.
  • Sticking to a list at the store — planning what you are going to make before heading to the store.
  • Food storage — when it makes sense to buy in bulk and how to avoid spoilage by appropriate storage.
  • Return to couponing: clipping coupons and using digital coupons on apps.
  • Trying different stores that might have lower-cost options.
  • Exploring store brands.
  • When you dine out, look for Groupons and other discounts.

Participants can register for the program by going to the events page at www.geshermi.org.

Warming Centers Now Open in Detroit to Shelter Homeless from Cold

The city of Detroit says it wants residents to know that warming shelters are now open for those that need help escaping winter weather conditions. According to the Detroit Health Department and Housing and Revitalization Department, Detroiters seeking warmth can go to three shelters for people experiencing homelessness.

Each year, facilities come online to serve residents needing relief from the cold. All individuals are supervised at all times to ensure the safety and security. They also are provided with hot meals, showering and sleeping accommodations.

Clients also are encouraged to take advantage of support services available, such as referrals, housing assistance, and other related services. These services are critical as temperatures drop and residents need heat and warmth.

“Winter weather creates additional challenges and risks for Detroiters, and the city of Detroit and its partners are dedicated to providing not just an escape from the cold, but also housing services that can help them in the longer term,” says Terra Linzner, homelessness solutions director for the Detroit Housing and Revitalization Department.

Among the warming centers open now through March 31 are:

  • Cass Community Social Services (11850 Woodrow Wilson St.), families and single women, 313-883-2277.
  • Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries – Mack Warming Center (11037 Mack Ave.), families and single women, 313-331-8990.
  • Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries – Third Street Warming Center (3535 Third Ave.), single men, 313-993-6703.
  • Dingell VA Hospital (4646 John R St., Red Tower 2nd Floor), military veterans.

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