FAQ

Click here to see additional answers to questions that neighbors have asked

 

How is Safe Place Community (SPC) like affordable housing?

How is SPC different from low-income housing?

Why is SPC special?

What is Toxic Charity?

Does Safe Place Community own 1033 Barkell?

Why does 1033 Barkell need to be rezoned?

What happens if 1033 Barkell is not rezoned?

How long will construction take?

Are all apartments subsidized?

I am interested in renting, what do I do?

How much are the apartments and subsidized apartments?

How long are apartments subsidized?

What type of support does Safe Place Offer?

What is a Safe Place Community Membership?

How many jobs are you creating?

Will your farm have livestock?

Are you hiring Pontiac residents to work on the construction?

How is this being funded?

What is a social enterprise?

When will construction start?

What size are the apartments?

Will there be wheelchair accessible apartments?

Will you have security on your property?

I want to work at Safe Place Community.

I want to get involved.

Are my donations tax deductible?

Can I fund or become an investor in the social enterprise?

How is Safe Place Community (SPC) like affordable housing?

Safe Place Community apartments are mixed-income and  have rents and apartments that are comparable to what one would expect to find when looking for a nice apartment. A portion of Safe Place Community's units are subsidized and less than the regular rent. The remaining units are regular rent 

How is SPC different from low-income housing?

Our development is mixed-income. All income levels are welcome. We charge a typical apartment rate for our units. We don't segment people based on economics, create social polarization and contribute to the stigma associated with being low-income. A person won't automatically reveal their personal financial status just by giving their address. We also take into account what may seem to be moderate income but when adjusted for the cost of living in Oakland County, a family is still considered to be struggling according to ALICE. We offer holistic services to help people get on their feet.

Why is SPC special?

We are bringing community together, supporting our veterans and investing in people. We are empowering the community and veterans. We encourage self-determination and self-sufficiency as we help folks. All subsidies have an expiration date and we assess what the OUTCOME is of having given a subsidy.

What is Toxic Charity?

While society will always have folks that need full support for life, we believe those that can become self-sufficient should be supported in doing so. Toxic Charity says success is measured by how much I gave the poor, Benefit Realization looks at the outcomes and impact our giving had. Were we effective in helping people increase their prosperity? That is the question. We evaluate and adjust to make sure we are giving veterans and those we help the dignity, support, tools and empowerment to define, grow and take action on the direction of the course of their lives. 

 

Does Safe Place Community own 1033 Barkell?

Not yet, we are not current or past owners of the lot. The City of Pontiac sold the school to a private owner. It was sold to a new owner and is still privately owned. It has been vacant for at least 10 years. Our purchase will be finalized once rezoning approval is complete.

Why does 1033 Barkell need to be rezoned?

It is currently zoned for single family homes only, we are requesting rezoning of the lot to multi-family.

What happens if 1033 is not rezoned?

SPC will have no choice but to develop somewhere else. We believe neighbors of 1033 Barkell will loose out on a multi-million dollar development that would increase property value by transforming an unsightly, unused lot into beautiful family-friendly grounds. We believe in Pontiac and hope to move forward with the development and do our part to strengthen community and support our veterans. 

How long will construction take?

Approximately 1.5 years.

Are all apartments subsidized?

No, only a portion are subsidized. The positive impact from our development is that it is mixed-income, no different from an apartment complex one would expect to find at market rates. Our subsidized units will be assigned from our own market rate apartments in the final stage of construction. There is no difference from our market rate apartments and apartments we subsidize.

I am interested in renting, what do I do?

Please email info@SafePlaceCommunity.com with Rental in the subject line. Your information will be added to a reconstruction waitlist and we will contact you as we near finalization. Bring on the list is not a guarantee of housing. 

 

How much are the apartments and subsidized apartments?

Prices will not be finalized until late-stage construction and will be based on the market at the time. Subsidized apartments will be based on income and will be finalized during late-stage construction.

How long are apartments subsidized?

We limit subsidies to 2 years. Our goal and the goal of the household coming to Safe Place Community's subsidized program is to improve upward mobility, quality of life and prosperity. We make sure we are addressing barriers, providing needed supports and creating a prosperity plan with each subsidized household.

 

What type of support does Safe Place Offer?

Please take a look at our Empowerment Solutions which are available to residents and private Safe Place Community members? Visit here

What is a Safe Place Community Membership?

Private memberships will be available to non-residents for use of the facilities and amenities. Subsidies for low-income households will be available for those enrolled in our upward mobility programs. Prices will not be finalized until late stage construction.

How many jobs are you creating?

We will be creating at least 75 jobs. Jobs will start at $15/hr. We will also launch 60 entrepreneurs by Year 3 of operation. Job training will be provided for jobs in industries with starting wages of $45,000

Will your farm have livestock?

No, we are growing produce in greenhouses.

Are you hiring Pontiac residents to work on the construction?

Yes, our General Contractor is from Pontiac and while we base our contracts off of choosing the most appropriate one from competitive bids, we will be actively seeking bids from Pontiac contractors.

How is this being funded?

Safe Place Community is being funded by a group of private investors. We will pursue all funding opportunities appropriate for our goals and timeline. If you are interested in giving towards veterans and families in need or you are interested in investing in our social enterprise, please email info@safeplacecommunity.com.

What is a social enterprise?

A social enterprise is a business that is concerned with more than just profits. Social responsibility and the impact that business has on lives, communities, the planet and our future are at the forefront of the business, not an afterthought. We believe you can be profitable and do good things.

When will construction start?

We are in the preconstruction phase. Our purchase of the land will not be finalized without rezoning approval. We are currently at the rezoning stage. If rezoning is not approved, we will begin the process of purchasing a different lot which may or may not be in Pontiac.  

What size are the apartments?

Site plans will not be finalized until after rezoning to protect our investment of time should zoning not be approved. If this is the case, we will need to create a site plan for a different location. Here is an example 1 bedroom + Loft apartment unit that we have designed.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Will there be wheelchair accessible apartments?

Yes! Here is an example.

 

 

Will you have security on your property?

Yes, we will have 24/7 security for the whole development

I want to work at Safe Place Community.

We will post our hiring needs as construction phases are completed. Please make sure you are on our mailing list. Sign up here.

I want to get involved.

Please email info@safeplacecommunity.com

Are my donations tax deductible?

Yes! Safe Place Transition Center is a 501(c)(3). Our community development is a social enterprise (not tax deductible) but our support services for veterans and low-income households are tax deductible.

Can I fund or become an investor in the social enterprise?

Please email info@SafePlaceCommunity.com

Neighbor Questions were gathered and compiled by a homeowner living across from the proposed development. The homeowner is not affiliated with any organization but is in support of seeing Safe Place Community develop the land. We have added questions to this list that have been asked while speaking to neighbors:

Barkell Redevelopment Questions and Feedback

August 26, 2020

  • Rezoning

    • To go from a R1 (single family) to an R3 (multi-family).  

      • The City Planning department already laid out why it is not likely to be developed as single family housing and that it is suited for an R3 rezoning. 

    • For Rezoning – 

      • Our petition for our development is going well and will be considered during the next rezoning

  • The Development

    • Is this a community development?

      • There may be a misunderstanding of a public community development and a private community development. We are a private community development that is adding to the tax base, not taking from it.

    • What kind of information will be available as the development occurs?

      • We are completely open to having periodic review so we can get feedback from the neighborhood; we want feedback! Constructive feedback that is focused on “how do we truly address a concern and find a solution” is productive and desired. Please email info@safeplace.com

    • Can there be online monthly updates? 

      • We can definitely do this and get people on our email list

    • Multi income dwelling

      • Multi-income has been around since the 70’s. The majority of negatives that have been associated with multi-income have been inequity towards those living in affordable units. This hasn’t been a concern in any feedback that we heard, no one mentioned if the affordable units would be “treated fairly”.  In the past apartment complexes had created separate entrances for those that lived in affordable units so they were not coming through the main doors or residents in affordable units weren’t allowed in common areas or allowed to use amenities and such. Developers no longer do that but this used to be an issue. Mixed-income ended up favoring only the wealthy in some instances. But again, this wasn’t anyone’s concern at the meeting. There have been lessons learned over the decades and we certainly take the wisdom from those lessons but we have a mission of making all people prosperous. The concerns that we had feedback on were the fear of low-income households’ effects on the community. Unfortunately, that concern doesn’t look at the infusion of middle-class earners that would live at the complex and is rooted in low-income stigma. Our low-income residents are supported with life planning to help them prosper. Again, this may also be a generational misunderstanding about the shifts in values and buying patterns for younger well-off millennials and millennial families and generations thereafter. 

    • Urban Farming

      • The great thing is that we are a hydroponic farm! so issues found with urban farming are not found with Hydroponic farms. Issues like smells, pesticides, herbicides, etc. are not an issue. Our hydroponic greenhouses eliminate all of those negatives. There will be a truck that picks up produce once a week. The truck will come into our parking lot and will not block the road at all.

  • What – “What percent are subsidized rentals?”

    • Can it be 100%? 

      • This would mean we are flat out lying about our business model and our mission. To make it 100% subsidized goes against everything we are building both socially and as a business - socio-economic diversity and prosperity.

      • This will never happen. It is against everything we are standing for. Out of all of my research there are 0, yes I said 0, mixed-income apartment complexes with market rate and affordable units that have turned into 100% subsidized. I have NOT found one example of this. This is because it goes against business and social principles of mixed-income (market rate units + affordable units) in the first place.  

    • The site notes, “Family-friendly housing that is open to anyone” which is causing some to feel that violent felons, sexual predators, or those who should be hospitalized would be living in the apartments. 

      • “Anyone” is no different than a house being available for rent to anyone per federal and state laws, in the sense of not discriminating against people protected by law but every landlord has the right to rent to the renter that is the best candidate. In the veteran section of the website we state, “We realize that no organization alone has the capacity to serve everyone with every type of need in a meaningful and sustainable way. We are aware that some veterans will be better suited by other organizations. We will do our best to guide veterans to programs that will be the most helpful to them. This may mean that we direct veterans to services not found at SPC ( a drug rehabilitation center, long-term care, or another program). “ I believe this answers that question.

  • Concern over the development being like other apartments in Pontiac that have a bad reputation

    •  

      Subsidized housing is often, whether based on past facts or not is assumed to be treated poorly by the landlords and the residents of the housing. 

       

      • Our apartment complex and community development is peaceful, warm, welcoming, family friendly and enriching; anything contrary to that is not what we are about. 

      • I realize that some apartment complexes have developed a bad reputation. These seem to be apartment complexes that are 100% low-income housing or section 8 based. We do not accept section 8 and we should be compared to the apartments that are charging regular apartment rents. There are some great properties in Pontiac. Currently a 1 bedroom is going for around $800-$900/month at apartments that would be considered competitive with us. We are NOT in the low-income housing business. Poorly managed, poorly maintained properties do not reflect good business practice and those apartments are not competitive with the market. When a well paid employee that works in Pontiac chooses to live at our complex instead of going to nearby Auburn Hills it will be because we are competitive in quality, amenity, and management. (although I know we are creating a phenomenal product that goes above and beyond!). When someone is searching for a low-income apartment, they may have limited options. This is not how the free-market works. We are being compared to the wrong things, the worst of the worst. We should be compared to the apartments with market rate rents currently at 800 - 900/month (current as of 8/2020). We are a normal apartment complex with some affordable units. We are not a low-income housing project. Mixed-income eliminates the social polarization and values the contributions of all to a thriving community.

    • Is there some information on guidelines for being granted subsidized rental and keeping it 

      • This is also found in the veteran section “Veterans that want a subsidized apartment will go through an application and interview process. We work to get veterans on their feet with supportive services tailored to their individual needs.”  Our 90 day discovery period ensures we are the right fit for a new subsidized renter and that the renter has committed to creating and taking action on a life plan developed with our experts. The interviewing criteria, discovery process and life planning will be thoroughly developed by our team of program directors, therapists, social workers, life coaches, mentors, personal finance experts, etc.

  • “Why isn’t this being developed into single family housing units?”

    • It already is zoned for single family homes and no one has decided to build single family homes on the lot for over 10 years. 

    • The property is too large to have single family development without making another short street in the middle to make it sizable to the local houses (Response from a neighbor with engineering background) 

    • The Planning Department understands the unlikelihood of this happening. We would not want to give the impression that we speak for the department because we do not. We are grateful for their assistance and timeliness and direct requests of the planning department’s thoughts on the development should be addressed to the Planning Department. Would-be developers know what they can do with the property and have chosen not to pursue anything that can be done with it as it is. 

    • Our development fits in with the City’s master plan and our model is aligned with proven public support in Pontiac. There are many instances in the plan where this true including the following statement from the 2014 Master Plan: “the 2014 Master Plan adopts a new approach to redevelopment, one that favors walkable urbanism . Walkable urbanism is, simply put, using the traditional urban Pontiac neighborhood as a model to create self- sustaining neighborhoods that can provide a range of uses and services all within a walkable distance. The concepts of walkable urbanism and complete streets gained strong support in all of the public meetings.” 

  • “Traffic and debris will be bad with trucks and cars going in and out all day”

    • The General Contractor and project manager will be in charge of this and will be available to the community for feedback so we can remedy any concerns.

  • How will traffic be managed after? 

    • The school was created to handle morning and afternoon drop off for children attending the school. The type of heavy traffic flow and congestion that occurs at schools will never be an issue at our development. That daily influx of people every morning and afternoon that is normally found at a school is not relevant to our development. Congestion is also not anticipated because we have ample parking and we believe we will be comparable to other private community facilities in neighborhoods where neighboring families choose to walk to the development when they want to go for a swim or use the gym because of the close proximity.

  • Flow of produce shipments?

    • This is only one time a week and the roads are not blocked off at all during pickups.

  • Which entrances and exits are proposed and how to reduce cross traffic

    • There is enough parking on site to accommodate residents and members using the facilities. We do not expect issues with cross traffic. The site was home to a school that had both morning and afternoon pickup and drop-off of students all at the same time. We will not be increasing cross traffic that the site was originally prepared for.

  • How will debris from construction be managed?

    • All public safety and environmental management will use industry best practices and follow all state, county, and city construction requirements. 

  • How will any findings of asbestos, radon, or other health variances be managed? 

    • There are laws in place for how this must be managed and inspections that ensure things are to code. 

    • We will be including eco-friendly and “green” designing and energy principles.

  • Will the property have security and management?

    • Yes, we will have 24/7 security and on-site management. Residents and neighbors will have a point of contact for any issues that may come up.

  • What if there are issues with tenants? For instance, what if they blast music all night?

    • Our leases will have clauses that require tenants to agree to the codes of the apartment complex. This will include noise levels and other areas of conduct that are vital to creating an environment that is thoughtful and neighbor friendly. Failure to comply with these rules will result in lease termination and this understanding must be signed by all residents (market rate & subsidized). Codes of conduct also apply to our Private Facility Members. Failure to comply will result in a termination of the membership. 

  • Is this an effort of redlining?

    • Absolutely not! Mixed-income serves the purpose of ending segregation and building thriving community. Safe Place Community doesn't want to just end problems that communities face, we want to build solutions for lasting prosperity. Our end goal is to help people prosper in an inclusive environment so communities can thrive together. We are creating living wage jobs and giving people the support that is needed in a stigma-free environment.

  • I'm all for this, what do you need me to do?

Have a question you don't see listed?

Please email your question to info@safeplacecommunity.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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