Two dozen low income families in South Bend getting new homes

Two dozen low income families will get to move into new homes by the end of this year.

It’s happening on the 900 block of Fuerbringer Street in South Bend through a partnership between Neighborhood Development Associates and South Bend Heritage Foundation. And it's bringing new life to the Lincoln Park Neighborhood for the first time in decades.

Pat Lynch, the project manager said, “This is a really unique project. It’s 24 single family homes that we are building this year so we are doing it on a very rapid schedule.”

The new housing co-op will be an affordable option for families, and a second chance for a neighborhood that was spiraling into poverty.

Anne Mannix, the President of neighborhood development said “It’s part of the mayor’s vacant and abandoned initiative.”

Now homes are going up, rather than being torn down, and long-time neighbors say the sounds of construction on their street is good for the whole neighborhood.

Mannix said, “The city is demolishing other houses in the neighborhood and it’s the first development the neighborhood has seen in probably 50 years.”

Each new home will have two to four bedrooms, a full basement, and a garage. But the builders aren’t stopping there.

Lynch said, “We are really bringing a lot of energy efficiency features to this that are above what we have been doing, even in the past, for air tightness and the products we are bringing to this so we make it very comfortable and economical for the people that live here.”

Residents who move in will pay anywhere from  $250 to $630 a month to own a share in the co-op.

Mannix said, “This project will be managed by a housing cooperative. So all the residents will be members of the cooperative and collectively they’ll make management decisions.”

Living in a membership co-op brings overall costs down because members get more buying power when all their resources are pooled into the whole complex.

Mannix said, “They’ll set the monthly cost and approve the operating budget and decide what improvements to make for the homes. And set policies to determine who their neighbors are.”

Researchers will study the project to see how effectively it works as a bridge to bring people out of poverty.

Mannix said, “They have to have incomes below 60% of the area median income which is about $34,000 for a family of four. And then we are looking for people that are active in the community and that are currently volunteers because we think they will make better cooperative members.”

So if you’d like a chance to live in one of these new homes, you better hurry up and apply.

Mannix said, “We’ve had 40 applications for 24 houses and one of the residents said we should have built 100 houses but a little bit at a time.”

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