$2.5 million gift from Yaker family will help revitalize Southwest Detroit neighborhood

$2.5 million gift from Yaker family will help revitalize Southwest Detroit neighborhood
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The Newberry Homes revitalization project in the Southwest Detroit’s Chadsey-Condon neighborhood just got a $2.5 million leg up.

The gift is from Judith Yaker, widow real estate developer Sam Yaker, will establish the Sam L. and Judith Yaker Fund. It will help more people become homeowners and revitalize an eight block area of the neighborhood. Southwest Solutions has acquired the Newberry Homes project, which is made up of 60 single-family houses that were low-income rental properties. It intends to renovate these houses and make them available for affordable homeownership.

A $2.5M gift from the Yaker Fund was announced at Southwest Solutions’ Celebration of Impact event on September 14 at the MGM Grand Detroit. (left to right) Seth Lloyd, chair of Southwest Solutions Board; Rebecca Yaker; Joseph Yaker; Judy Yaker; Evrod Cassimy, morning anchor at WDIV Local 4.

The Yaker Fund will principally go toward the rehab work and mortgage lending for 56 of the Newberry Homes. It will also be used to create a new neighborhood park, called the Sam L. and Judy G. Yaker Park and Pavilion.

In addition, will provide support services to the homebuyers and others in the community such as ongoing neighborhood beautification projects, community programs and maintenance of the park and pavilion.

“Homeownership is the bedrock of stable neighborhoods, and the Yaker Fund donation will have a transformative effect in supporting the Newberry project and the attendant revitalization and investment in the area that the project will spur,” says Steve Ragan, senior vice president for development and external relations at Southwest Solutions.

The gift will be regenerative as mortgages are paid into the Sam and Judith Yaker Mortgage Fund and those dollars will be continually reinvested in community redevelopment, he says.

Southwest Solutions estimates the net average sales price, less concessions and credits, for the renovated homes will be about $35,000, allowing families an opportunity to build equity and wealth. The ongoing mortgage payments will generate about $40,000 a year in income to cover fund expenses, the organization says.

Recovered principal will used to make additional mortgage loans in the neighborhood.

A home on 28th St. is one of the 60 rental houses in the Newberry neighborhood that will be transitioned to homeownership under the project.

The Newberry Homes were built in 2000-2001. A significant portion of the financing was provided by the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, which uses tax credits to encourage developers to construct affordable housing.
Southwest Solutions will offer homebuyer and financial counseling, as well as other support services, to the prospective homebuyers to increase their likelihood of successful homeownership.

The success of the Newberry project has important implications for neighborhoods across Detroit. There are more than 1,300 LIHTC-funded single-family units in the city that will be out of compliance before the end of 2020, Southwest Solutions says. The Newberry project could become a model for transitioning low to moderate income renters into homeowners, extending the reach of the American Dream in Detroit and stabilizing neighborhoods where homeownership had been in decline.

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