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Community Housing Network to build an additional 12 homes in Unity Park Neighborhood in Pontiac

August 30, 2015

The Oakland Press

The Unity Park neighborhood in Pontiac is about to grow a bit more.

After securing a $3.2 million tax credit reservation, Community Housing Network will construct an additional 12 lease-to-purchase homes in the neighborhood. Construction of 32 homes in the neighborhood began last June.

"With the new construction, we will have built 44 long-term, lease-to-purchase homes in the Unity Park neighborhood in the past three years,” said Community Housing Network’s Vice President of Development Kirsten Elliott.

All 32 homes built in 2013 and 2014 were leased upon completion and there is an ongoing waitlist for the residences.

The project, which is expected to break ground in October, will include special needs units. Occupancy is expected by the early portion of next summer, and all of the homes will be built on properties that were once vacant, blighted or foreclosed.

"We are honored that we are able to continue to bring investment into the city of Pontiac,” Elliott said.

"There are a lot of great activities happening in the neighborhood and in Pontiac, such as the community garden coalition, Little Libraries and the M-1 Concourse going in just down the street on Woodward.”

CHN began work in the neighborhood in 2011 when it partnered with Venture Inc. to build 12 energy-efficient upscale homes.

A link to the online article in The Oakland Press is available here

Little Free Library to be unveiled

August 28, 2015
The Oakland Press

A park at 135 Perkins in Pontiac will be the site of a barbecue and ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday as it is dedicated to former Oakland County Commissioner and Pontiac School Board member Mattie McKinney Hatchett. Hatchett, who was elected to the Oakland County Commission in 2002 and represented Pontiac there until retiring last year, was the first African American woman to serve as president of the Michigan Association of Counties. She has been involved with the Pontiac School District as an employee or volunteer since 1963, served as a Pontiac Board of Education trustee and also served as Pontiac deputy mayor.

The event, set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., will also feature the dedication of the first of four Little Free Libraries set to be installed.

Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman, Oakland County Commissioner David Bowman and Kirsten Elliott of the Community Housing Network will speak at the beginning of the program, and food, games and live entertainment will be offered.

The Little Free Library set to be installed at Mattie McKinney Hatchett Park was painted by Sue Nimlin, who said painting it became art therapy for her during an illness. That and three other Little Free Libraries were built by seniors at the Waterford Senior Center and painted by artists involved with The Art Experience. Books were donated by graduate students of Oakland University’s Masters of Public Administration program, Macy’s and others.

A link to the online article in The Oakland Press is available here.

'People have hope': Nonprofit unveils 32-home development in Pontiac

July 15, 2014
The Oakland Press

Pontiac City Councilman Kermit Williams stood on a once-dilapidated block of Shirley Street near his childhood home Tuesday where some of the 32 rent-to-own homes being built by Community Housing Network stand.

"I think it’s lifted the spirits of the neighborhood,” Williams said. "People have hope.”

The Troy nonprofit, which has been constructing homes in the county for more than a decade, celebrated the $9.2 million project Tuesday. The homes, funded by Michigan State Housing Development Authority tax credits and investor PNC Bank, sit on lots that were previously vacant.

"We will continue to work on bringing resources and development to this neighborhood and, in the process, help bring back the middle class,” Community Housing Network President Marc Craig said to a crowd of dignitaries that included Mayor Deirdre Waterman, Rep. Tim Greimel, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard and Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner.

Waterman said she’s pleased that ribbon cuttings are occurring so often in the city.

"Building a stronger community is a vital part of building a stronger city,” she said before presenting a mayoral proclamation to Community Housing Network.

The latest homes to be constructed in the area come after an earlier 18-home development built by Community Housing Network in the area using federal dollars, as well as past investment by Lighthouse of Oakland County and Habitat for Humanity.

Read the full story in this article in The Oakland Press. The Oakland Press photo gallery is available here.  Further information is available on our website.

Photo by TIM THOMPSON-The Oakland Press
Kirsten Elliott, Community Housing Network’s vice president of development, and Marc Craig, the nonprofit’s president, at the unveiling of the Unity Park Rentals on South Shirley Street in Pontiac on Tuesday.

Construction underway on Community Housing Network's 32 new Pontiac homes

June 13, 2014
The Oakland Press

PONTIAC - The hammers and drills heard Friday on Oriley Street sounded like the comeback of a neighborhood.

Community Housing Network is building 32 rent-to-own homes in the Unity Park neighborhood on lots that were previously vacant, a $9.5 million project that follows the Troy-based nonprofit’s earlier construction of 18 homes in the area using federal dollars.

 "It’s creating more density in housing, it’s eliminating blight, it’s increasing property values and it’s making it safer for the neighbors,” said Kirsten Elliott, Community Housing Network’s vice president of development.

The construction of the 32 homes is expected to be complete by November. They range in size from 1,200 to 1,800 square feet and include both two-story colonials and five fully accessible ranches. Applications are being taken from prospective renters.

The construction is funded by Michigan State Housing Development Authority tax credits and investor PNC Bank.

Renters will have the opportunity to purchase their home after 15 years for a nominal fee based on income.

Read the full story in this article in The Oakland Press. Further information is available on our website.

Photo by TIM THOMPSON-The Oakland Press
Amber Wicklund, 17, a student at the Oakland Technical Campus Northeast, helps to frame a house in Unity Park on Tuesday for Community Housing Network.

Nonprofit to invest millions in Pontiac housing development


July 26, 2013
The Oakland Press

Oakland Press Kirsten Elliott UPR July 2013A nonprofit lease-to-purchase housing development coming to a Pontiac neighborhood will give low- and middle-income families a chance at eventual home ownership.

Troy-based nonprofit Community Housing Network announced the construction of a long-term, lease-to-purchase housing development in Unity Park on the city's southeast side.

The $9 million Unity Park Rentals development will consist of 32 new homes in the eastern half of the neighborhood, ranging from two to four bedrooms with attached garages on each.

Community Housing Network Vice President of Development Kirsten Elliott said the project is the largest the network has undertaken and is meant as a community revitalization project for the neighborhood.

Read the full story in this Oakland Press article. Further information is available on our website.

Photo by TIM THOMPSON, The Oakland Press
Kristen Elliott, vice president of Development for the Community Housing Network, with a site plan, in front of the type of house that will be built for a 32-unit rental home development in Unity Park in Pontiac.

Community Housing Network awarded for work

June 16, 2013
The Oakland Press

TROY— Community Housing Network received two state awards recognizing thenonprofit's work in housing counseling resources at the recent BuildingMichigan Communities conference in Lansing.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) honored CHN as the Homeownership Counseling Program Agency of the Year and the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) and Americorps' Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Corps honored CHN as the Host Site of the Year.

Read the full story in this Oakland Press article.

Home for the Holidays: Families find reasons to celebrate amid difficult times

December 23, 2012
The Oakland Press

Two years ago during this holiday season Bobbi Hess was in the midst of foreclosure and wondering if she would ever own a home of her own again.

Hess was grieving over the loss of the Berkley home where she lived for 30 years and raised her two daughters, one who has a disability that keeps her from speaking and requires her to use a wheelchair.

Despite efforts to save her house, Hess, who works two jobs and does party sales, lost it in foreclosure.

This year, "Jim" and "Judy," a couple from northwest Oakland County, found themselves jobless with a disabled child and living in their car.

They were worried that they might never be able to pull themselves and their two sons out of their desperate situation.

And until recently, Arketa and Stanton Williams and their son Mark, 12, had been living in an apartment in Royal Oak.

They had long dreamed of finding an affordable house near Stanton's place of work in Pontiac.

Read the full story in this Oakland Press article.

Area mental health, homeless programs bracing for shutdown

October 13, 2012
Special to The Oakland Press

Programs and organizations relating to local mental health and homelessness issues have not yet been affected by the partial government shutdown, but they're definitely preparing for the possibility.

"If it persists, then it's going to affect not only our organization but every other piece of society, and that will be a mess,” said Jeff Brown, executive director for Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority.

The authority is a public mental health system responsible for managing support services to Oakland County residents, including individuals with developmental disorders, serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbance and substance use disorders. It is the second largest public community mental health care manager of mental health programs in Michigan. ...

Marc Craig, president of Community Housing Network, a supportive housing provider based in Troy with offices in Macomb and Wayne Counties, also weighed in on the situation.

"For the month of October, most of the programs we run are under contract and should be funded,” Craig said. "It will slow down the progress of a couple of developments we have underway.”

Craig said that should the debt limit debacle not be resolved quickly, it could spell problems for the housing provider.

Read the full story in this Oakland Press article.

Neighborhood Stabilization Program helping to revitalize Pontiac

May 28, 2012
By Dustin Blitchok
The Oakland Press

PONTIAC -- Kiesha Jones was all smiles as she showed friends around the new ranch house on Paddock Street in Pontiac she hopes to close on within the next month.

"It's been a long road. This is a dream I've had for a long time," Jones said of owning a home for the first time. Hers is one of 18 homes built from the ground up in southeast Pontiac using funds from the second phase of the federal government's Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

Jones was born and raised in Pontiac, graduated from Pontiac Central High School and has two children. Her home is one of 12 built in a partnership between the Community Housing Network of Troy and Venture Inc., an arm of the Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency.

An additional six homes are being built by Home Renewal Systems, a Farmington Hills-based builder, in the neighborhood coined "Unity Park."

"It's revitalizing the neighborhood," said Ron Borngesser, CEO of the Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency, a nonprofit agency headquartered on Cesar Chavez Avenue. "If you provide good, affordable homes, people are looking to live in Pontiac."

All 18 lots were either vacant or had city or county owned homes on them that were demolished. Two of the new homes are designed to be accessible for potential buyers with a disability.

Read the full story in this Oakland Press article

CHN's Jamie Christofel wins prestigious award

CHN staffer Jamie Christofel received the 2012 Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority (OCCMHA) "Director’s Award” during the organization’s annual Keys to Total Health Conference April 23 at the Troy Marriott.

Christofel is Housing Resource Center team leader at CHN.

Read more about Christofel's award in this Troy Patch article.

Congratulations, Jamie Christofel!

Community Housing Network secures housing for WWII veteran, 87, living in car

Since the beginning of April, Johnnie F. Richburg, an 87-year-old World War II veteran, had been living in his car in the Pontiac City Hall parking lot. When he first arrived, he went inside City Hall and asked if they could help with housing.

Tuesday Redmond, Pontiac Community Development specialist, called Community Housing Network (CHN). CHN sent a team headed by LaVonne Spivey, housing stabilization coordinator, to meet with Johnnie and gather more information.

Read articles about this story in The Detroit News and The Oakland Press.   more

CHN launches Foreclosure Counseling Program

Community Housing Network is excited to announce the opening of its Foreclosure Prevention Counseling Programs!

This program, provided in conjunction with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), offers FREE foreclosure prevention counseling. If you:   more


Giving Tuesday is December 1

Please consider a donation to CHN on Giving Tuesday, which is on Tuesday, December 1. 100% of the donations received through this campaign will be used to fill critical gaps experienced by participants in our housing programs.

Video: Opening Doors, Transforming Lives

We provide housing to meet a variety needs in the SE Michigan community. This video offers tours of some of our housing options, explains how these options meet residents’ needs, and highlights how we have creatively utilized multiple funding streams to develop safe, decent, and affordable housing. It is available full screen on our Video Page.

For the fourth year in a row, CHN is a Top 100 Workplace!




For the fourth year in a row, Community Housing Network has been chosen as a Top 100 Workplace by the Detroit Free Press in the small company category! 

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570 Kirts Blvd., Suite 231, Troy, Michigan 48084
with offices in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties
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