Dowagiac City Council agrees to administer emergency housing funds for county

Published 9:38 am Tuesday, October 12, 2021

DOWAGIAC — City of Dowagiac and Cass County residents with limited financial means will soon have access to a source of government funding for a qualifying housing emergency.

Dowagiac City Council on Monday approved a resolution to provide administration services to Cass County for its Community Development Block Grant funds for all Cass County and city of Dowagiac residents.

“If someone’s heat goes out in the winter, or air conditioning goes out, or something falls on the roof and there’s a hole in the roof, and they don’t have the funds to be able to take care of that, this is a source of money they can have,” said Anderson, adding that the county does not have anyone on staff with experience administering such funds, while the city has been awarded several Neighborhood Enhancement Program  grants over the last few years.

As such, the city will use its experience of administering those funds to help Cass County administer more than $57,000 in CDBG grant funds.

“We know of several people locally through our work in that NEP program who have needs that program couldn’t touch,” Anderson said.  “We’re hoping that they could get in a program like this.”

The CDBG program provides annual grants to states, cities and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income individuals, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Anderson said Dowagiac has had plenty of experience with intergovernmental agreements, with more than 51 at one time several years ago. and he believes the city will do a good job with the program.

“I think we’ll do a good job with this program,” he said. “I look forward to some local residents getting some housing needs addressed that wouldn’t be able to otherwise.”

In other business:

  • Council approved a request from Ascension Borgess-Lee to use Farr Park for its 2021 Tree of Love campaign.
  • Council approved a resolution to vacate a public alley running east and west between McOmber Street and N. Front Street.
  • Council approved resolutions to authorize special assessments for delinquent utility service payments, as well as abating deteriorating property conditions
  • Anderson updated council on the blight action taken at 403 W. Telegraph. The house has been taken down, but the garage and tree still remain. The owner has been given until this weekend to remove them.