LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Activists with concerns over housing conditions at low income homes across the city made their voices heard Wednesday night at a Lansing Housing Commission meeting.
The meeting was heated, as speakers and board members went head to head on several issues.
As the LHC is prepared to submit an application to the federal government to allow a property sale one woman said she’s concerned that maintenance issues and confusion will pile up.
“There are so many things that need to be fixed and they certainly wouldn’t buy them in the condition they are in. Is the LHC going to come through and bring them all up to code and bring them all up to livable conditions? Nobody knows,” said resident Jody Washington “Nobody really is holding people by the hand and making sure they have the time to become mortgage ready or the mortgage process,” said Jody Washington.
Washington was one of several people concerned about the timeline and aftermath of a planned transfer of more than 200 low income properties to a private equity real estate company.
Currently, these properties are public housing and one member of the commission said that will continue -but under Section Eight housing instead.
While speakers brought up concerns regarding current maintenance issues, one board member pushed back saying a plan is in place to address it.
As for claims that there is little guidance to tenants, Executive Director Doug Fleming said the Commission has provided all the needed information.
“The only transparency on our part was to say you have the opportunity to purchase your house, here’s the price values that each of the houses are for,” he said. “We told the residents this is the amount to qualify for and at that point, the burden moves to the resident to decide what they are going to do and how they are going to get the financing they need to buy that house.”
Fleming said tenants have until this Friday to show they are making financial progress in the effort to buy their current rental before its included in the overall sale.
For those who don’t buy it, Fleming said they won’t lose their homes if the transfer goes through.
“Once we complete the sale, the funds that are generated from this sale as part of Section 18 can be reinvested in what we are calling community specific housing,” he said.
The meeting did end with the board voting to postpone the final decision to start the application to transfer the properties. Fleming said he wants to move ahead once the board is fully comfortable.