- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - A pilot program involving Flint aims to help Habitat for Humanity affiliates across the nation create homes that also can be used as a place to work, officials announced Tuesday.

Habitat for Humanity and MasterCard launched the effort that aims to connect affordable housing and small business development. Genesee County Habitat for Humanity is building a home in Flint that also will serve as space for Scott Hempel and Tyler Bienlein’s tabletop gaming store.

“This new program is helping our dreams become reality,” Bienlein said in a statement.

Based on Genesee County Habitat for Humanity’s project, the pilot program offers Habitat for Humanity affiliates that participate in its Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative an opportunity to apply for five grants that will help fund research, training and building projects.

The MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth is providing a $400,000 grant to help fund the construction of Habitat homes for home-based businesses.

“Habitat has been committed to addressing affordable housing issues and to partnering with other organizations to find solutions for related community challenges in cities throughout the nation,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International.

In partnership with families who manage home-based businesses, Habitat for Humanity said it can build homes with functional living and business spaces. The aim is to offer increased employment and income opportunities for potential homeowners.

___

Online:

http://www.geneseehabitat.org

http://www.habitat.org