By Madeleine Graham
Metro Community Development (MCD) kicks off its monthly business workshops this week, hosting the first event at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 21. According to Facebook, Metro Community Development will be partnering with John L Financial Services who will assist in facilitating the events. The event is available to the community on Facebook Live. More information on the workshops is available at the MCD website.
Brian Glowiak, Metro Community Development’s CEO, said the non-profit organization, with a mission of responding to homelessness and affordable housing issues, operates in an environment of challenging times to both home ownership and homelessness.
Nonetheless, even during the pandemic, the agency has continued to provide thousands of area residents with housing support.
During the past few years, according to Glowiak, Metro Community Development has awarded nearly $1 million in free funds to local homeowners to provide new roofs, windows and doors, siding, water heaters and other repairs.”
“This year, the award equaled a maximum of $7,500 per household,” according to Glowiak. Free funds were also provided to improve the accessibility for seniors and disabled persons by providing ramps, and bathroom and kitchen modifications of up to $10,000 per household.”
Many barriers stand in the way of home ownership
Many barriers affect access to home ownership, Glowiak explained, including the lack of availability of down payment funding, low credit scores, and excessive debt-to-income ratios for mortgage availability.
Other obstacles include, “low valuations in home appraisals that fail to support a lender’s required loan to value ratio,” he said. Ultimately, the low appraisals result in a lack of comparable home sales values. While finally due to a lack of affordable housing stock barriers are present to the home-buying process for many first-time homebuyers, Glowiak added.
Additionally, there are barriers to affordable rental housing experienced by low-income individuals and families as the demand for low income housing continues to exceed supply.
“A recent market study for the Flint area forecasted an immediate need for 390 affordable rental units in the city, with just over 100 units in the development status,” Glowiak noted.
According to its website, Metro served 2,836 clients in 2019 and 2020, working from an annual budget of more than $2 million. The main sources of funding are the “U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and Genesee County, Glowiak said. . Local nonprofits contribute to the funding as well including United Way of Genesee County and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.
As for how the budget is distributed and agencies that share in that funding, “Metro Community Development serves as the lead agency for the Genesee County Continuum of Care, a federally mandated body of homeless service providers,” Glowiak explained.
Metro Community Development acts as a fiduciary and regulates the annual $2 million budget “However, additional funding is also provided by governmental agencies directly to local shelters and service agencies,’ Glowiak said.
How to qualify for MCD services
So how does one qualify for the services?
Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties is the Housing Assessment Resource Agency (HARA) in Genesee County, that provides comprehensive housing placement services for people who are homeless, or have special needs in Genesee County. (Phone: 810-600-4525). Metro also operates an Emergency Homelessness Help Line (810-544-4357) to assist homeless individuals and families (to) connect with homeless resources,” Glowiak said.
Metro Community Development also acquired ownership of 30 units at Carriage Town Square apartment complex, in a joint partnership with PK Housing from the original non-profit developer in 2020. “The acquisition was a transfer of ownership interests subject to an assumption of all existing debts and obligations,” and the rent is income based. “The apartment units are subject to an existing Low Income
Housing Tax credit allocation and are made available to individuals and families with household incomes of less than 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI).”
“Metro Housing Partnership is a wholly-owned non-profit subsidiary of Metro Community Development and it serves as the real-estate division by holding titles to commercial and rental properties.” Glowiak stated.
In a partnership with Consumers Energy, “The Back@Home program was established to increase access to safe and affordable housing in Flint through a single-family and home acquisition and rehabilitation program. This program involves purchasing and rehabilitating dilapidated and or abandoned houses for resale to first-time income eligible home buyers.”
MCD opens up capital for women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses
Metro Community Development is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and as such, “represents private financial institutions chartered by the U.S. Treasury committed to delivering responsible, affordable lending to help low-income, low-wealth, and unbanked or under-banked people join the economic mainstream.”
In the capacity of CDFI, “ Metro Community Development serves the community by providing access to capital through non-traditional lending services and offering technical assistance to start-up entrepreneurs and existing small businesses.” He noted 25 percent of the loans assisted women owned businesses. Metro Community Development also “provides credit counseling, homebuyer education training and small dollar consumer loans to individuals and families. A majority of our clients are women, minority and veteran-owned businesses.”
Metro Community Development has provided funding for several additional projects.. “I am very proud of the services we provide to the Flint and Genesee County communities and I would like to highlight a specific program: the free home improvement grants we provide to low and moderate income homeowners,” Glowiak said.
Normally the grants program runs from March to June each year, “and although program funds are fully depleted for 2021, we encourage homeowners to contact us in early 2022 to confirm their eligibility,” stated Glowiak.
After pandemic delay, MCD opens new office
Metro Community Development had a delayed opening at Robert T. Longway due to the pandemic. “For over two decades our employees were physically separated in multiple leased offices and we were looking forward to operating without silos in a newly renovated and attractive office building.” Not long ago, “ a majority of employees have re-engaged and are now working together at our new offices,” Glowiak stated.
Glowiak’s experience features innovation, training
Glowiak comes to Metro Community Development with quite an extensive background. He worked for Chrysler Corporation, Daimler Chrysler and FCA for more than three decades in a variety of executive capacities. During his leadership, Glowiak directed more than $220 million in charitable awards and corporate sponsorships to local, national and international nonprofits according to his executive biography.
Glowiak is also an attorney having served as a tax attorney and corporate lobbyist. It should be noted that, in addition to all of his accomplishments while at Chrysler he secured more than $1.3 billion in economic development incentives for new capital investment and expansion projects.
Innovation, seems to be what Glowiak loves to do as he developed and expanded an innovative vocational training program that links local manufacturers with school districts to provide high school students with access to equipment and training to garner the knowledge necessary to obtain certifications to achieve and excel in advanced manufacturing careers while he was a member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) where he served as Vice President.
Glowiak joined Metro Community Development in 2019, and became its CEO.
Metro Community Development is located at 1174 Robert T. Longway, Flint Michigan 48503. For further information visit the MCD website Metro Community Development.
EVM Staff writer Madeleine Graham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.