Financial Assistance & Incentive Programs

The Community and Economic Development Division has compiled a list of grants, tax exemption programs, redevelopment incentives and other financial assistance programs offered in whole or part by the City of East Lansing. The list below includes programs available to eligible East Lansing residents, renters, home owners, business owners and non-profit entities as well as financial incentives available for redevelopment projects.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program

This program is administered by the Community & Economic Development Division. 

The Community & Economic Development Division administers the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and the Human Services General Fund Grant programs. These programs are intended to address the needs of low-to moderate income East Lansing residents through individual and neighborhood investment, eliminate slums or blight or respond to an urgent need. 

Eligible applicants include, but are not limited to, private/public non-profits, community-based organizations, local public agencies and certain private entities. Types of eligible activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Affordable Housing-Down Payment Assistance
  • Affordable Housing-Rehabilitation Assistance
  • Water/Sewer Improvements
  • Sidewalk/Street Improvements
  • Homeless Assistance
  • Legal Services
  • Youth Services
  • Senior Assistance
  • Domestic Abuse and Dating Violence Support
  • Acquisition & Disposition of Real Property
  • Public Infrastructure/Facility Improvements
  • Park Improvements
  • Micro-enterprise assistance
  • Basic Needs and Medical

Please reference the CDBG Application Resource Guide for more information on applicant eligibility, project eligibility and compliance standards. Applications for FY 23 funding are no longer being accepted at this time. Check back in November 2022 for FY 24 applications. 

Down Payment Assistance Program

This program is administered by Capital Area Housing Partnership. Between $1,000 and $30,000 in financial assistance is available to purchase a home in select neighborhoods of East Lansing that can be used for:

  • Down-payment as required by the first mortgage lender
  • A reduction to the first mortgage as needed for loan qualification
  • Qualified Closing costs

An additional $1,000 - $5,000 is available for the following rehabilitation costs:

  • Repairs needed to address code violations (mandatory)
  • Repairs to improve energy efficiency
  • Repair/Replacement of inoperable and/or obsolete home systems
  • Reduction of lead paint hazards (mandatory)

The Community Development Division administers a number of Community Development Block Grants in whole or in part with partner non-profit community organizations that provide services to income-qualified residents that meet the HUD Income Qualifications

This program is being administered in whole or in part by the Community Development Division's partner: Capital Area Housing Partnership (CAHP). CAHP is a non-profit agency that provides residents with home buyer assistance programs and homeowner rehabilitation services. 

Applicants will work directly with non-profit housing agency CAHP to apply for and receive the funds. Application materials and program guidelines can be found here. Residents with questions can contact the CAHP office at (517) 332-4663 or info@capitalareahousing.org for more information.

DNA Card 

This program is funded through a partnership between the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority and East Lansing Downtown Management Board and is administered by the Community & Economic Development Division.

The Daytime. Nighttime. Anytime. Card (DNA Card) is a community eGift card program that helps keep local dollars local. Community eGift Cards are a simple way for people and companies to “give back” and drive more business into our local stores. Consider purchasing an e-gift card that you can send to yourself, friends or family! You can use the Downtown East Lansing e-gift card at all participating merchant locations. Thanks for your support!

Parking Validations

This program is administered by the East Lansing Parking Division. A 40 percent discount is available for merchants that validate customer parking. These validations are available for purchase in packs of 25 or through a billing program. For more information on parking validations and other parking related programs, please visit: www.cityofeastlansing.com/ParkingDowntown.  View or Download Validation Parking for Downtown East Lansing (PDF) or call (517) 337-1277 for more information.

Emergency Rental & Mortgage Assistance 

This program is administered by Capital Area Housing Partnership. The program may pay up to six months or $7,000 of past-due rent or mortgage payments, whichever comes first, and six months or $3,000 of past-due utility payments, whichever comes first.

Help is available to eligible income-eligible residents who have fallen behind on their rent, mortgage and utilities as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Income-eligible East Lansing residents can apply to receive grant assistance towards outstanding rent or mortgage payments from as early as March 2020. Residents must reside within the City of East Lansing’s limits and must provide documentation of a COVID-19-related hardship, such as loss of a job, a decrease in hours worked or an unexpected medical bill.

The Community Development Division administers a number of Community Development Block Grants in whole or in part with partner non-profit community organizations that provide services to income-qualified residents that meet the HUD Income Qualifications

This program is being administered in whole or in part by the Community Development Division's partner: Capital Area Housing Partnership (CAHP). CAHP is a non-profit agency that provides residents with home buyer assistance programs and homeowner rehabilitation services. 

Applicants will work directly with non-profit housing agency CAHP to apply for and receive the funds. Application materials and program guidelines can be found here. Residents with questions can contact the CAHP office at (517) 332-4663 or info@capitalareahousing.org for more information.

Façade Improvement Program

This program is funded through the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and is administered by the Community & Economic Development Division.

The Façade Improvement Program is available for businesses located within the DDA. The program will provide matching funds for improvements to the façades of commercial buildings and up to $1,000 in design assistance. Grants require a cash match on behalf of the applicant for all eligible expenses. Funding is provided on a competitive basis. Available matching funds are made possible through the DDA. View or download program guidelines and application form here. Questions? Please email grants@cityofeastlansing.com.

Home Rehabilitation Program

This program is administered by Capital Area Housing Partnership. Between $1,000-$24,999 in financial assistance is available to eligible City of East Lansing homeowners for necessary repairs to their home. Assistance to qualified homeowners includes help determining necessary repairs, selecting a contractor at a fair price and ensuring repairs are completed.

Types of repairs may include, but not limited to:

  • Repairs or upgrades to improve energy efficiency
  • Replacement of aging major mechanical systems
  • Exterior repairs like new siding, windows and porch stairs
  • Repairs that improve the health and safety of occupants
  • Modifications to make the home more accessible for seniors and people with disabilities 
  • Treatment of lead-based or asbestos hazards
  • Repairs needed to rectify code violations

Types of repairs that cannot be made include, but are not limited to:

  • Purchase of new appliances
  • New construction
  • Luxury improvements

This program is being administered in whole or in part by the Community Development Division's partner: Capital Area Housing Partnership (CAHP) Applicants will work directly with CAHP to apply for and receive the funds. Application materials and program guidelines can be found here. Residents with questions can contact the CAHP office at (517) 332-4663 or info@capitalareahousing.org for more information. 

Neighborhood Enhancement Mini-Grant Program

As part of its Neighborhood Partnerships Initiative, the City of East Lansing is offering modest mini grant opportunities to neighborhoods to support a range of initiatives, including the installation of new signs and planters, beautification efforts, creation of special neighborhood events, community cleanups and more. The City of East Lansing has five, $250 mini grants available for neighborhoods that have been assigned a staff liaison as part of the Neighborhood Partnerships program. The funds must be used the same fiscal year (July 1-June 30) as it was approved.

Questions? Please contact grants@cityofeastlansing.com

Outdoor Area Expansion & Beautification Grant

This program is funded through the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and is administered by the Community & Economic Development Division. 

The DDA has allocated $43,000 to launch an Outdoor Area Expansion and Beautification Grant Program in support of downtown East Lansing businesses. The purpose of the program is to provide financial assistance to support eligible business with the expansion of their outdoor dining, seating, shopping and/or service area into adjacent private or public spaces. The program will provide a dollar-for-dollar match (up to $2,500 per eligible business) for approved infrastructure and/or site plan design expenditures on a first come, first served basis.

Eligible applicants include businesses located within the boundaries of the DDA that have prior approved 2020 or 2021 Temporary Outdoor Seating Area Expansion plans or approved 2021 Temporary Outdoor Area Expansion and Beautification plans. Additionally, eligible business applicants must be current on all City taxes. For program eligibility criteria, step-by-step instructions on the application process, and the application form, please view or download the following documents:  

Questions? Please contact grants@cityofeastlansing.com 

Personal Property Tax Abatement

The City can provide 100 percent abatement of personal property taxes for a period of up to 12 years for qualifying office or technology businesses. This program is administered by the City's Assessing Division of the Finance Department. For more information, including program guidelines and application forms, click here. 

Poverty Property Tax Exemption

Resident’s meeting income limit and asset level tests set by the City of East Lansing may be eligible for a full or partial exemption of property taxes. This program is administered by the City's Assessing Division of the Finance Department. For more information, including eligible income-limits, program guidelines and application forms, click here.

Principal Residence Tax Exemption

Individuals who own and occupy their home as their principal residence may claim an exemption from the 18 mills levied by the local school districts for operating purposes. This program is administered by the City's Assessing Division of the Finance Department. For more information, including guidelines and application forms, click here.

Property Owner Assistance Program for Basement Backup Protection

This program is administered by the East Lansing Department of Public Works and Environmental Services and is available to eligible East Lansing residents and businesses. For more information, including eligibility criteria, program guidelines and application forms, click here.

Small Business Relief Grant Program

This program is being administered by the Community & Economic Development Division. Eligible businesses with employees meeting the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD ) income eligibility requirements can apply to receive up to $10,000 in grant assistance towards lease payments, mortgage payments, utility payments and payroll expenses. Grant funds will be issued on a reimbursement basis only.

Program funding is provided by HUD. As a Community Development Block Grant entitlement community, the City of East Lansing received funds from HUD to assist in the preparation and response to the coronavirus.  

Questions? Please contact grants@cityofeastlansing.com

Tax Increment Financing

This program is administered by the Community & Economic Development Division. The City of East Lansing utilizes tax increment financing (TIF) to encourage investment and redevelopment, improve the quality of life of East Lansing residents, create new jobs and maintain quality public assets. It is a financing tool used to help further East Lansing’s progress towards development goals established in the Master Plan, City Council priorities and other related strategic plans.

TIF is available through the East Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA), with approval from City Council, for the redevelopment of contaminated, functionally obsolete, historic, blighted or land bank owned properties. It uses an increase in the taxable value of the redeveloped property to reimburse a developer for certain eligible activities associated with the project.  

Eligible activities under TIF may include costs for environmental studies, engineering & design, environmental clean-up, site preparation, and public infrastructure. These projects may also be eligible for Michigan Business Tax credit equal to 10-20% of eligible investment.

In addition to meeting eligibility for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy required under the state brownfield TIF program, the City of East Lansing and BRA established project evaluation criteria evaluated at the local level.

For more information, visit the BRA webpage. Questions? Please contact grants@cityofeastlansing.com.

Other Financial Assistance Resources

The State of Michigan and Greater Lansing Area offer many other financial and technical assistance programs. Explore more resources here.

Resources for Business During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Use the following link to view a list of other regional, state and federal programs to assist businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: Resources for Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic.