Dowagiac, Cassopolis awarded NEP grants

CASS COUNTY — Two Cass County communities were awarded state grant funding for visual improvements.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority awarded $2.1 million in Neighborhood Enhancement Program grants to 56 local governments and nonprofit groups across Michigan. NEP is designed to launch improvement projects directly tied to enhancing and stabilizing communities. Projects can focus on neighborhood public amenity enhancements, improve residents’ quality of life, or help communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Cass County, the village of Cassopolis was awarded $45,000, while the city of Dowagiac was awarded $30,000. Both have been awarding NEP grants in the past.

“These grants will allow local groups across the state help their communities with specific needs that improve the quality of life for residents. MSHDA supports innovative, highly visible and meaningful housing-focused ideas to improve and stabilize neighborhoods,” said Gary Heidel, acting executive director of MSHDA.

During its fifth round of funding, MSHDA allocated $1 million to rural communities, designated as having 5,000 or fewer residents. To become a grantee, organizations had to show a level of need and demonstrate that the proposed project will make a noticeable difference within the community. Due to COVID-19, the project completion deadline for funded projects has been extended to September 2021.

The goal of this funding is to help – and eventually showcase – model Michigan neighborhoods where residents are engaged and facilitating change, MSHDA officials said.

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