Leelanau County Sees A Church’s New Affordable Housing Project Along M-72

It’s hard to miss, the large construction area along M-72 in Cedar, MI (Leelanau County). What might have been easily missed is the five year planning on behalf of two organizations, and community members, to get there.

The location will, hopefully soon, be the site of 14 new affordable houses for rent and sale by a unique developer, New Waves Community Church of Christ. The project broke ground just last month.

New Waves had nearly two dozen acres set aside on the property to build a church through the Michigan Conference of the United Church of Christ.

But pastor  Jody Betten sought feedback from the community about what they wanted to see there.

“What they kept saying was we have churches what we don’t have is low cost housing,” says New Waves’ volunteer project manager, Tina Allen.

They brought in Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region to be the builder after hearing about the successful Depot Neighborhood, sustainable and environmentally-friendly housing at an affordable cost. In exchange, Habitat is able to provide homeowner opportunities to six families. Newwaves Excavation

“Habitat has been there to do better for communities, families we serve but also the environment so that net-zero solar project caught the attention of the pastor who wanted to talk about that concept here,” says Irvin.

The new homes will be built solar ready, and placed in a circle with green space both in front and in back. The rest of the property New Waves’ owns will be homes and a church/community center in the future.

Allen and Irvin hope that the six Habitat homes and seven New Waves-owned and managed rentals will use the green space for a community garden.

The homes through Habitat will be offered to those in the 30 to 80 percent median income range in the area, and rentals will be offered at 30 to 50 percent.

Allen says the reason the church took on the role of developer was because they ‘want to be involved in justice because that’s who we are.’

Irvin says Leelanau County ranks highest in their region for hurdles to providing affordable, workforce housing. The houses will be designed for those people in mind.

But the project costs over $2 million and requires help to fund it. Irvin says the infrastructure is paid for and the first few homes will go up this summer, but donations will be necessary as the project moves forward.

“We do have to continue raising the funds to make sure we can complete it on our side, and the New Waves’ congregation whose raising money as well.” says Irvin. “Together, we have a lot of money to raise from the community, but we know the heart and passion is there and the need is at a crisis stage.”

Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region has been applauded by their fundraising partner, Consumer’s Energy, in the Power of Home matching campaign. They took second place out of Michigan’s 48 affiliates to raise $48,503. The money goes towards projects like New Waves and Maple City Crossings.

Anyone interested in being a part of the build or donating to the cause can contact Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region.