Affordable housing is coming to Dexter.
The City of Dexter has met with Ann Arbor based Avalon Housing on creating affordable housing in Dexter. After several meetings, the two groups are ready for a purchase agreement for the City’s property on Dan Hoey Rd. next to the Community Garden.
Faith in Action’s Role
Initial plans for the 2-acre parcel is for 25 units. In addition to the complex, a new Dexter location for Faith in Action (FIA) will be built adjacent to the buildings. The Faith in Action spot will house a food pantry, a clothing store, office, and a community room for activities and ongoing education in areas such as budgeting, health and nutrition, and job hunting.
Faith in Action, while not funding any of the project, serves as facilitator between the City and Avalon. FIA will also provide critical ongoing support services for the complex.
“The whole situation is highly dynamic with long-term implication,” says Nancy Paul, Executive Director for Faith in Action. “It’s a full time presence for us, a big step from the current part time hours we have in Dexter.”
This past year, FIA and Avalon Housing worked with the City of Chelsea in renovating a 17-unit apartment complex into affordable housing. Of the 17 families in the Sharon Apartments, 16 have a relationship with Faith in Action support services. Landlord responsibilities for the complex remain with Avalon as they will with the Dan Hoey project.
About Avalon Housing
Avalon Housing was founded in 1992 when the City of Ann Arbor proposed tearing down three houses to build a parking structure. A public campaign was organized to “house people, not cars.” The City offered a compromised by moving the housing units and making them available to a non-profit organization willing to rehab and operate them as affordable housing. Enter Avalon Housing.
Out of this compromise, community advocates organized a response to homelessness that shifted from shelter-only to long-term housing. The goal was to provide permanent housing, with support services, for chronically homeless adults. The first Avalon property on West William Street, seen above, is still home to some of the original tenants. Avalon’s model of supportive housing is now recognized as a national best practice.
Dan Hoey Project Just the Beginning
While specifics of the Dan Hoey project are still under development, there is a commitment that at least some of its units will be designated for Supportive Housing. The Supportive Housing households will be occupied by homeless and/or special needs families. The project will be affirmatively marketed to persons with disabilities.
Early estimates see the project completed in early 2021.
When it comes to affordable housing, there are two issues facing Dexter:
- Affordable housing for young professionals.
- Affordable housing for the economically insecure.
While the Avalon project primarily addresses the second concern, the City of Dexter has recently formed a Housing Task Force to delve into the first concern. The Task Force is comprised of citizens and City officials with the objectives of,
- Inventorying existing housing stock
- Identifying housing needs
- Identifying and researching housing case studies from other communities
- Researching strategies to address missing housing needs and affordable housing
Once collected, the Task Force will present their findings to City Council for additional consideration.