LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — As the affordable housing crisis rages on throughout the state, officials in Jackson are looking to tackle the issue through city-owned vacant land.

In March, the Jackson City Council set aside $2.5 million from American Rescue Plan funds to help launch the 100 Homes program. It aims to construct 100 new houses in the city which utilize unoccupied city-owned residential lots.

With the community catching wind of the efforts over the past week, Jackson officials said the response has been overwhelming.

“We started the soft launch of this program over the past week and we’ve already had around 90 applications submitted,” said City Spokesperson Aaron Dimick.

With only 100 houses to offer, officials say this just shows how badly people need cheaper places to live.

“We have heard from our residents over the past couple of years that housing is a big priority. So, we felt it was important as city government to be a leader in the community and provide that new housing for people,” Dimick said.

This city is offering $25,000 in down-payment assistance per home. The houses will include a mixture of one and two stories with up to three bedrooms and one and a half baths.

People must be eligible for homes within the program. That includes an income requirement limited to those earning up to 80% of the area median income.

“We want to make sure these homes are affordable to people of a low to moderate income, but we also want to make sure we’re setting up people for success. We don’t want to give people a mortgage they can’t afford or a house they can’t afford,” Dimick said.

Karolyn Pfeiffer who lives in the city said she knows all too well how the market has changed.

“I recently have children who have purchased homes in the last year and they certainly pay a higher interest rate than I do,” she said.

She added that she’s glad it’s not only helping out the community but making use of empty lots throughout the city.

“I’d hate to see vacant land if there’s something that they can do with it. If it helps people that need it then more power for it,” Pfeiffer said.

Because the program is so new, people have not been approved yet, and houses with the initiative have not begun construction. But officials said we can expect decisions to be made later this Fall with a boom of construction through the Winter and well into 2024.

More information and the application can be found here.