MUSKEGON, MI – Muskegon homeowners in the Nelson Neighborhood can receive state funding to make home improvements.

Community enCompass, a social and community services organization, is distributing about $37,000 from a statewide program dedicated to neighborhood enhancement.

“It’s all-around exterior improvements,” said Kimi George, interim executive director for Community enCompass.

Grants of up to $7,000 can be used for exterior projects like siding, porch repair or landscaping.

Eligible homeowners must be below 120% of the area median income and up to date on taxes and insurance. Incomes can range from $52,240 for a single-person household to $102,240 for an eight-person household.

The program includes homes from Clay Avenue to Forest Avenue and Eighth Street to Terrace and Peck streets.

Related: How to get emergency rental, utility assistance in Muskegon County

George said Nelson Neighborhood homes are being targeted because of significant development in downtown Muskegon.

“We’re seeing an investment in market-rate homes. While we believe that’s a good and positive thing, if we don’t offset that market rate development with affordable actions and with programs like NEP (Neighborhood Enhancement Program), then gentrification quite frankly is imminent,” she said.

The Nelson Neighborhood — historically relatively low income, according to George — contains the entire downtown area where market-rate housing like the Leonard, Lakeview Lofts and Highpoint Flats have gone up.

Efforts to offset this include a $49 million investment into 240 middle-income homes and Community enCompass building three affordable homes on vacant lots.

George said the “rehabilitation of homes” is focused on keeping current Nelson Neighborhood residents in their houses.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) provided the grant through the Neighborhood Enhancement Program that benefits low- and moderate-income residents.

More than $1.8 million was awarded to communities this year for the “improvement and stabilization of Michigan’s neighborhoods,” said a statement from Tonya Young with the Neighborhood Enhancement Program.

Community enCompass expects to assist four homeowners with the program, but George said they “stretch the funds” for minor repairs.

Applications can be sent to [email protected] They are due by Friday, Oct. 15.

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https://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/2021/10/muskegon-neighborhood-can-tap-into-state-funding-for-home-improvement-projects.html