City of Benton Harbor
Community & Economic Development
Stephanie Scott-Sims, AICP, Director
Community and Economic Development Department
City of Benton Harbor, 200 East Wall Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022
PH: (269) 927-8421 Fax: (269) 927-0480
The Community and Economic Development (CED) department strives to foster a better quality of life for Benton Harbor residents by developing viable neighborhoods with safe, suitable housing and by eliminating slums and blight. To that end, we conduct activities mandated by the United States Congress and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
City of Benton Harbor Home Rehabilitation Loan Program
The City of Benton Harbor Home Rehabilitation Loan Program is funded through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) entitlement funds and is locally administered by the City of Benton Harbor and its Third Party Administrator, Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency (SMCAA) http://www.smcaa.com .
The City provides loans between $500 to $25,000 to low-to moderate income homeowners to make repairs to their homes. The City provides these loans through two programs, the Minor Home Repair Loan Program and the Whole House Rehabilitation Loan Program.
Community Development Block Grant Program
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which began in 1974, is one of the longest continuously running programs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Designed for flexibility, the program addresses a wide range of community development needs.
The City of Benton Harbor Community and Economic Development Department (CED) invests federal, state and local funds in programs and services that benefit neighborhoods, business development, and low-income households to address critical needs in our community.
The City of Benton Harbor is an Entitlement Community and receives an annual grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.
The goal of the CDBG program is to provide decent housing, a suitable living environment, and expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons.
Vacant Lot Revitalization Purchase Program
Formerly known as the “Side Lot Program,” this program is intended to provide property owners whose property is adjacent to City-owned vacant lots the opportunity to purchase the City-owned lot at a nominal fee of $250 (subject to change). Intended uses of the property may include—but are not limited to—yard expansion, community garden, parking, accessory building, or public art. If you are interested in this program, take a look at the qualification checklist; if you qualify, submit the application form to the Community and Economic Development office, 200 East Wall Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022. Vacant Lot Application
Before and After Photos
Click photos below to enlarge.
The City of Benton Harbor’s Master Plan
The Master Plan provides recommendations and long-range plans for key components of the community including land use, transportation, community facilities, natural resources and environmental features, arts and culture, community and historical resources, and urban design and community character. In addition, the plan will help spur and guide economic development and growth within the City.
The Master Plan is the City’s official policy guide for physical improvement and development. The Plan considers not only the current needs and issues within Benton Harbor, but also presents a plan for guiding new improvements and developments for the next 15 to 20 years. The Plan establishes the ground rules for private improvements and developments. It also provides the framework by which the City can review and evaluate private development proposals. In addition to private improvements, the Plan presents a number of public improvements that can help to ensure that local dollars are spent effectively.
As a Grantee, the City of Benton Harbor is required to develop a Consolidated Plan. The Consolidated Plan is designed to help the city assess its affordable housing and community development needs and market conditions, and to make data-driven, place-based investment decisions. The consolidated planning process serves as the framework for a community-wide dialogue to identify housing and community development priorities that align and focus CDBG funding. The Consolidated Plan process takes place every 5 years.
Annual Action Plan
The Consolidated Plan is carried out through Annual Action Plans, which provide a concise summary of the actions, activities, and the specific federal and non-federal resources that will be used each year to address the priority needs and specific goals identified by the Consolidated Plan.