Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

If you happen to live in the neighborhood that includes North River Street, East Knight Street, Union Street, and North East Street, there is money available through the State of Michigan’s Neighborhood Enrichment Program (NEP) to help make repairs to the exterior of your home. The City of Eaton Rapids received a grant of $40,000, and in turn, will provide financial assistance to homeowners in that specific neighborhood.
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has invested over $1.8 million into Michigan communities through the NEP and awarded grants to 43 local governments and nonprofit groups across the state, including Eaton Rapids. Eaton Rapids was the only municipality in Eaton County to receive the funding.
“The NEP MSHDA grant funds are used to support exterior improvements to homes that have structural deficiencies and/or unsafe/hazardous conditions,” said Lindsey Zeller, Quality of Life Director for the City of Eaton Rapids.
“All homeowners that are eligible will receive an application packet via the United States Postal Service mail and are encouraged to apply,” Zeller explained. “Applicants have two weeks to return applications once they are mailed out.”
There is an income cap to be eligible, which is based on the number of members in the household. The amounts awarded will vary, based on the project and what each location needs, explained Zeller.
The three-page application is very similar to the Curbside Residential Grant application that the City offers, but is not the same thing. If an applicant needs assistance to complete the application, contact Zeller at City Hall to schedule a time.
A panel made up of city staff and an MSHDA representative will review all applications and place them in priority order, with the most severe, or hazardous, projects at the top of the list. Each project will then be funded starting with the top priorities and working the way down until funding is depleted. All construction for this grant must be completed by December 31, 2021.
NEP grants provide funding to support community beautification projects to improve residents’ quality of life. This can include community gardens, playgrounds, pavilions, repairs, and more.
“The goal of this funding is to help-and eventually showcase-model Michigan neighborhoods where residents are taking the lead in facilitating change,” representatives from MSHDA explained.
To receive the grant from MSHDA, each organization had to show a level of need and demonstrate that the proposed project will make a noticeable difference in the community and/or serve as a catalyst to promote neighborhood stability.
For more information, contact Lindsey Zeller, Quality of Life Director, at the City of Eaton Rapids at 517-663-8118 or via email at