Fremont Area Community Foundation’s Housing Partnership Fund awarded its first grants to a trio of local housing creation projects. In total, $300,000 was awarded in the first housing grant round.

Projects receiving funding will add an anticipated 13 housing units in the Hesperia and White Cloud areas. The $300,000 awarded will enable recipients to leverage $3 million in total investments.

JNL Hunt Construction was awarded $60,000 to create two two-bedroom apartments in existing buildings in downtown Hesperia. Slate Property Co. was awarded $90,000 to create three apartments in another existing downtown building.

In White Cloud, Allen Edwin Homes was awarded $150,000 to construct up to eight new single-family homes. The homes will be energy-efficient three- and four-bedroom homes.

The grants are made possible through a partnership between the Community Foundation and Newaygo County. County commissioners approved $1 million to help create the Newaygo County Housing Partnership Fund at the Community Foundation. The Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees earmarked an additional $500,000. A committee including county officials, Community Foundation staff, and community representatives like Julie Burrell of The Right Place was formed to create grantmaking guidelines and review proposals.

“We are excited to partner with Newaygo County on this exciting opportunity to encourage more housing development in our area,” said Shelly Kasprzycki, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “There is such a need here, and we are committed to working with local partners to find solutions, provide support, and look for ways to leverage additional funding.”

The need for more local housing development has been identified in numerous studies, all pointing to demand for all types and price points of housing. The latest data indicates a need for 300-400 additional housing units, with the greatest need among families earning between 60-120% of the area median income. Currently, that is defined as $45,420-$90,840 for a four-person household.

“The Newaygo County Board of Commissioners is very pleased with this project getting off to such a promising start,” said Bryan Kolk, chair of the Board of Commissioners. “We are anticipating an even stronger interest with the next round of proposals.”

The second round of housing grants will be open for applications on November 15, with proposals due on January 5. Nonprofit and for-profit developers are eligible to apply. Applicants are encouraged to leverage additional funding sources and seek the support of local municipalities. Housing developments must be located in Newaygo County to be eligible.

For more information on the application process, contact Maria E. Gonzalez or Lindsay Hager at the Community Foundation at 231.924.5350.