Michigan Gateway Community Foundation grants $20,000 to help City of Niles fund home repairs

NILES — Recognizing that there is no place like home for the holidays, the city of Niles, with help from the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation, has help for city residents needing to make emergency repairs to their homes.

The city received a $20,000 grant from the foundation’s Help for Homes Fund, which will support emergency repair needs or code enforcement deficiencies for low- to moderate-income qualified homeowners.

The city will offer grants for roofing, furnace, electrical repairs or new water heaters with no repayment requirements. Homeowners qualifying for the grant fund must have been cited by the city’s code enforcement department as needing repairs to keep their homes in habitable condition.

“This grant is important because it helps reach or maintain code compliance, which makes our neighborhoods a safer and cleaner environment for all,” said Niles Public Safety Chief Jim Millin. “During these times of financial hardship this grant can make a big difference.”

MGCF CEO Michael Rowland said the foundation was pleased to help Niles residents in a time of great need.

“One of the basic functions of any strong city is safe housing. COVID has made that incredibly difficult this year,” Rowland said. “There’s a lot of citizens that are looking into the winter months and wondering how they’re going to pay their electric bill, nonetheless how they’re going to fix a leaking roof or cracked windows on their house.”

The foundation has a renewed commitment to the city of Niles in its Help for Homes fund, for which the donor is Habitat for Humanity.

“We actually doubled down on what we typically do,” Rowland said. “This year more than ever it’s going to be more important to keep people in their homes, especially safe for the holidays.”

Eligible homes will be identified by code enforcement and qualified homeowners can expect to submit applications, income information and estimates from licensed Michigan contractors. As the city may not be providing all funding, the homeowner will have to prove that they have the remaining funds available or that the contractor is willing to negotiate a payment plan with them.

“We saw this as a great partnership with the city of Niles, who do just a wonderful job of identifying and filling needs for the community,” Rowland said. “We’re happy to be a small piece of that.”

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