Moving into the former School for the Blind Library - now known as the Neighborhood Empowerment Center - was the culmination of a lot of planning, organizing and investing by the
Greater Lansing Housing Coalition
"This project had been in the visionary stage for a couple of years before I came on a year and a half ago," says Katherine Draper, GLHC executive director. "In spring of 2009 we purchased the building with the assistance of the City of Lansing."
The city helped fund the $2.1 million project with $850,000 in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Grant
funding, which allowed GLHC to proceed with the purchase and renovation the 17,000 square foot building in the Old Town
district. Not only is the GLHC now operating out of the building, but the organizationís four tenants - Head Start
, the Ingham County Land Bank
, the Neighborhood Stabilization Program
, and the Spring Garden Project - have moved in as well.
"The intent of the building was to create a one-stop shopping area for all of the communityís housing-related needs," says Draper. "We also have a lot of public areas here to visit and use for meeting space, and a town hall center."
GLHC operated from a two-story house on Lapeer Street for 19 years prior to the move.
"Itís quite refreshing for us," Drayper says of the move. "This is our first real professional office environment."
A 700 square foot space is still available for lease in the Neighborhood Empowerment Center. The GLCH hopes to fill the space with a community human service agency to further compliment the Centerís mission.
Source: Katherine Draper, Greater Lansing Housing Coalition
Writer: Natalie Burg, News Editor