Ottawa County Invests Big in Affordable Housing and More Child Care Thanks to Federal Stimulus

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OTTAWA COUNTY, MI – Ottawa County is using federal stimulus funds to make a significant investment in adding child care sites across the county as well as promoting affordable housing options.

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Nov. 22, approved a long list of projects that will receive a portion of $57 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The area that will receive large segments of the pie includes $10 million for a revolving loan fund for affordable housing.

A United Way of Greater Ottawa County pilot program called Housing Next will establish a fund to provide low-interest loans to affordable housing projects.

In the area of ​​child care, $7.5 million is targeted for the expansion of child care centers and early learning centres.

The funds will go to the Outdoor Discovery Center Network to increase child care capacity in Ottawa County by 1,000 spaces over the next three years. The agency is expected to work with the Ottawa area middle school district and businesses to establish new child care sites at local employers.

County officials say a study and report showed a “critical need” for more child care services in Ottawa County. Data from the Michigan League for Public Policy showed that there are 1.9 children for every child care slot available.

Other areas that will receive significant ARPA funding include $1 million for the recruitment and retention of mental health professionals in Ottawa County. The county’s community mental health department will use the funds to hire six to 10 new health professionals.

ARPA funds will also be targeted to two specific affordable housing projects.

Dwelling Place, a nonprofit developer, will receive $2 million to spur a 46-unit development in downtown Holland to primarily house families earning 40-60% of the county’s median income.

Samaritas, another nonprofit, will receive $1.5 million to build a 53-unit housing development in Spring Lake for low-income families.

Other ARPA-funded projects include farmland protection, a crime victims relief fund, improvements to Ottawa Sands Park and the Idema Explorers Trail, and a workforce development initiative. Latin Americans United for Progress.

In total, county commissioners funded 23 different projects with ARPA funds.

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