First tenants move into new, affordable townhomes in Oak Park

December 16th, 2020
Coolidge Place development

The night before moving into her new townhome, Darlene could not sleep. The anticipation was overwhelming.

In the morning, Darlene and her young son walked through the unit for the first time before signing the lease. She felt a warm blend well within of happiness, hope and gratitude.

“This begins a new journey for us,” said Darlene. “I absolutely love this place!”

Darlene is one of the first tenants to move into Coolidge Place, located on Coolidge just north of 8 Mile in Oak Park. The $15M development is a partnership between Lighthouse of Oakland County and Southwest Solutions. It provides 64 quality and affordable townhome and ranch-style apartments for lower-income working families.

Darlene works as a security guard at an elementary school about a mile away from her new place. She had been renting in Detroit. When Coolidge Place broke ground last summer, she saw the sign for the development and called to get on the waiting list for prospective tenants. That waiting list is now closed because of the great response.

The rent Darlene is paying for her two-bedroom unit is less than $600 a month. The rents at Coolidge Place, in general, range from about $450 to $1,000 per month for one- to three-bedroom units. Eligible tenants must be at or below 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Of the 64 rental units, 16 are designated for residents with special needs. The 4.5-acre site also includes green space and a community center.

Robin Richardson at her Coolidge Place townhome

Robin Richardson moved into her new unit the same morning as Darlene. Robin works for a commercial cleaning company. She had been renting an apartment in Warren.

“This townhome is the best place I’ve ever lived in,” said Robin, 33. “Everything is brand new. I can hardly believe this is our new home.”

Coolidge Place is part of an effort to begin to address the critical need for affordable housing in Oakland County. At least 20,000 low-income households are rent-burdened in the county, which means that they are paying more than 30% of their income on rent, leaving little to address their other needs.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) reserved $1,361,400 in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits over 10 years for the Coolidge Place development, providing about $12.5M in equity toward the $15M project.

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