Snyder rolls out plans for 2013 in third State of the State address
LANSING, Mich., Jan. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) Executive Director Scott Woosley said he heard some welcome news during Gov. Rick Snyder's third State of the State address Wednesday. A plan to create an agency focused on helping veterans and increased efforts to rid communities of abandoned properties were chief among them.
"Both of those endeavors are right in our wheelhouse," Woosley said. "It speaks to our organization's motto: Investing in People. Investing in Places."
Snyder spoke with passion about veterans, thanked members of the military he met during a visit with Michigan troops serving in Kuwait and Afghanistan last year, and honored the ones who didn't come home.
"There is a cost and we need to understand that," Snyder said, later adding that state government "needs to constantly and vigilantly keep working on veterans' issues."
Snyder announced a new Veterans Affairs Agency will be created by the end of the week that will focus on just that, helping veterans better identify and connect with services.
"Our organization takes pride in helping meet the affordable housing needs of all of our state's residents, including our veterans," Woosley said. "Gov. Snyder has consistently been a strong advocate for veterans and this new agency will connect veterans with key services needed in other areas of their lives, such as new occupations and careers."
Woosley said MSHDA has had a lot of success with developments and loan programs geared toward veterans and the organization will gladly share that information and expertise with the new state agency.
"With the help of various partners, MSHDA created an affordable housing model for veterans," Woosley said. "Silver Star Apartments in Battle Creek is a huge point of pride for our organization. It was the first Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) development in Michigan to provide permanent supportive housing for veterans."
The development, which features 75 one-bedroom apartments, combines on-site and off-site supportive services with existing Veterans Administration and nonprofit services for the homeless. Silver Star Phase II provides 100 additional units devoted to homeless veterans in need of supportive housing.
"Silver Star Apartments Phase II represents the power of private and public partnerships to provide affordable housing and on-site services to homeless veterans in Michigan and serves as a model for the rest of the nation," Woosley said. "It is these types of partnerships that will be beneficial to share with the new agency in order to keep our state -- and its veterans -- moving forward."
In addition to rental housing, MSHDA works with active military and veterans who are eligible for grants up to $5,000 through the Homebuyer Assistance program and administers Veterans Administration (VA) loans.
"With this new Michigan veteran Homebuyer Assistance program, we will be able to provide an additional tool to help veterans realize their dreams of homeownership," said Mary Townley, director of MSHDA's Homeownership Division.
Another shared focus area highlighted in Snyder's speech involved strengthening communities by ridding them of abandoned properties.
As the head of the state's Housing Development Authority and a member of the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority Board of Directors, Woosley said he is keenly aware of the issue of blight and its impact on rebuilding cities and neighborhoods across the state. MSHDA has aligned its goals with the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2), a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"Our organization and our partners have played a key role in stabilizing Michigan cities with blight removal and rehabilitation of dilapidated and abandoned properties," Woosley said. "We understand there is still much work to be done. MSHDA has and will continue to support Gov. Snyder on this issue, whether it is in policy, legislation or new initiatives that will help create thriving communities where people want to live and work. Together we will move Michigan communities and the economy forward."
For more on Gov. Snyder's speech, which included plans for increased road funding, reforming the no-fault insurance system, no-reason absentee voting, creation of a new Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services and more, visit www.michigan.gov/snyder.
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.*
*MSHDA's loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/mshda.
SOURCE Michigan State Housing Development Authority