Affordable housing is a crucial issue for all Michigan residents, but in some parts of the state, affordable housing units—especially for seniors—are still hard to find.
That’s where Chippewa-Luce-Mackinac Community Action Human Resource Authority (CLM/CAA) comes in. In addition to the fifteen senior centers the Agency operates in the tri- county area, CLM/CAA also runs a number of anti-poverty programs in Northern Michigan, including Head Start, meals on wheels, discounted transportation for seniors and people with disabilities, and weatherization services.
Since its inception in 1965, CLM/CAA has completed two other tax credit developments: a 57-unit senior apartment building and a 28-unit supportive housing development for homeless families, both in Sault Ste. Marie. In total, they have developed over 200 units of affordable housing, and 37,000 square feet of commercial and office space.
Creating Convenience for Seniors
In 2004, when CLM/CAA wanted to build affordable rental housing units for seniors earning 30-60% of the median income in St. Ignace, they came to the Trust Fund [former name of Opportunity Resource Fund] for a loan. Michelle Lajoie, Housing Assets Director for CLM/ CAA explains: “We (had) known about the Trust Fund for a number of years... but did not have the opportunity to work with them until our St. Ignace Senior Housing Development.”
The recently-completed housing units are within walking distance of downtown St. Ignace, a grocery store, and a Community Service Center. Each wing of the two-story building flanks a central common area, which includes a community room, kitchen, library, and an elevator for easy access. The one bedroom apartments are approximately 705 square feet, and the two bedroom units are 946 square feet. All of the apartments have either a patio on the ground level or a balcony on the upper floor. In order to blend well with the neighborhood, the building exterior has been designed in the Victorian style. Several gables of varying size break the roof line and add an attractive visual element to the front façade.
The Power of Collaboration
Michelle Lajoie says CLM/ CAA “had been working closely with the City and County governments for a number of years to develop senior housing in St. Ignace.” Thanks to the collaborative financing efforts from the Trust Fund, MSHDA, and the Great Lakes Capital Fund, the City of St. Ignace finally has affordable housing available for its senior population.
“The experience that we had working with the Trust Fund has been exceptional,” says Lajoie. “If there ever was a question or concern, staff was always ready to assist our Agency.”
To learn more about the programs offered by Chippewa-Luce-Mackinac Community Action Human Resource Authority, be sure to visit their website: clmcaa.com.