Weatherization Assistance Program
The Weatherization Assistance Program, has been funded primarily by the Federal Department of Energy since 1979. Additional funding is also provided by the Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Michigan Public Service Commission. Low-income homeowners and renters are provided services such as weather-stripping, caulking, and insulation of attics, walls and crawl spaces. The goal of the Weatherization Assistance Program is to lower energy costs to the individual thereby freeing up precious income that can be applied toward another living expense or to make paying the high energy bills more attainable through energy efficiency measures.
A great deal of technology is involved with testing the homes and developing a “game plan” under this program. An extensive energy audit is performed on each home along with a “Blower Door Test,” which indicates the number of air changes per hour in a given dwelling. A house that is too tight can cause indoor air quality problems, and may result in respiratory ailments; while a house that is not tight enough will allow too much cold air infiltration. We examine and test the efficiency of the heating units in a home, and also test for the amount of carbon monoxide in the ambient air of the home. A compilation of all of these tests then determines what weatherization measures will be installed in a home, based upon the savings to investment ratio.
Eligibility for this program is based on the gross income of all household members. Written verification of income and home ownership or rental status is required.
Each year, about 75 homes are weatherized at an average cost of $3,439. Since the program began in 1979, we have received $14.4 million of funds and weatherized approximately 5,575 homes in the two county area.
AMCAB partnered with Trilogy Development Company, a for profit developer from Kalamazoo, Michigan, to build two affordable housing developments in Marquette County starting in 1997. The first development was the Lost Creek Apartments and Town Homes, which is a senior housing development, located in Marquette Township on County Road 492. Lost Creek is a 151-unit development for seniors, 55 years or older. Rental rates are based on income for 90 of the units, while the other 60 units have no income qualifiers and rents are based on the current market. Lost Creek offers residents an attractive senior community in a rural setting and that includes amenities such as a library, crafts room, and comfortable lounge areas. It also includes a 7,000 sq. ft. community building which houses an AMCAB community nutrition congregate dining site for seniors and a commercial meal preparation kitchen for home delivered meals to the surrounding area.
In 2000, amcab received the prestigious “Peterson Award” for the best supportive housing provider in Michigan for Lost Creek.
The Preserve at Orianna Ridge
The Preserve at Orianna Ridge is the second development in amcab’s portfolio. It is an 80 unit affordable family development located in the City of Marquette on Pioneer Road. It is a mix of 1 and 2 story apartments and town homes. All rents are based on household income. Twenty of the units were constructed and are set-aside for residents with special needs. A collaboration with other service providers in the area allows these individuals with developmental disabilities the opportunity to live independently and also receive assistance with their day-to-day living needs. The Preserve at Orianna Ridge won an honorable mention in the 2005 national award program sponsored by the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition.
Snowberry Heights Senior Housing
This most recent addition to amcab’s affordable housing real estate portfolio is Snowberry Heights, located in the City of Marquette. It is an eleven story 191-unit development for low-income elderly persons. It is a mix of 1 and 2 bedroom apartments and has amenities such as laundry facilities, community room, hair salon and air conditioning in each unit. All rents are based on income and all of the apartments carry a H.U.D. Section 8 project based housing voucher. amcab joined with its newest partner, Millennia Housing, Inc., a for profit developer from Valley View, Ohio to purchase Snowberry Heights in 2006 and by doing so, guarantees this complex to remain as affordable housing for 35 more years.
Alger County Home Rehabilitation Program
On behalf of Alger County, amcab administers the Alger County Home Rehabilitation Program that is the Community Development Block Grant Housing Rehabilitation Program funded by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. This program is available only to homeowners who reside in Alger County. Extensive work such as roofing, wells, septic systems, heating systems, electrical wiring and plumbing are offered. All work contracted is performed by local licensed private contractors.
Eligibility for the Housing Services Programs is based upon gross household income and the number of occupants in the home. Written verification of income is required. The funds spent to rehabilitate a dwelling under the Community Development Block Grant program must be repaid when the house is sold or the applicant moves out.
During the past year, 12 homes were repaired or rehabilitated at an average cost of $17,225 per home. Since the program began in 1980, Alger County has have received $3.9 million of funds and rehabilitated approximately 473 homes.