Flint, MI—Gregg Outen, 62, had resided in Flint for most of his adult life, and he hoped to return to the resurging downtown after living away from the city for some time. Outen, who has retired from the banking and retail industry, found his community in McFarlan Court Street Village, just a few blocks from downtown.

Sitting in front of the residence is the sign “Court Street Commons,” and that’s how Outen sees the community — a place where people from all walks of life look out for one another. 

Gregg Outen poses for a portrait on Sept. 23, 2022, in his home at McFarlan Court Street Village’s building on 700 E. Court St. (Nicholas Chan | Flint Beat)
Gregg Outen’s home is seen on Sept. 23, 2022, at McFarlan Court Street Village. (Nicholas Chan | Flint Beat)

“We are retired auto workers, teachers, veterans and service industry workers,” Outen, a 2-year resident, said during the groundbreaking ceremony of the redevelopment of McFarlan Court Street Village.  

“We shop alongside you at the supermarket,” Outen continued. “We worship alongside you at church. We are people who still volunteer and we still give back to this community. We are your grandparents, your parents, your aunts and uncles. That’s who lives here.” 

As the redevelopment of McFarlan Court Street Village broke ground in mid-September, Congressman Dan Kildee said providing quality and affordable housing is central to paying things forward for the community of older adults. McFarlan Court Street Village, which currently offers independent living for people 55 years old or above, is home to the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers and Generation X. 

“It takes a lot of effort to make sure that we provide people who’ve given so much over their lives to our community the support they need, and it starts with housing,” said Kildee, who secured $8.2 million in funding for the joint redevelopment project between McFarlan Court Street Village’s parent organization McFarlan Charitable Corporation (MCC) and its management organization Presbyterian Villages of Michigan (PVM). 

The living room of Gregg Outen’s home at McFarlan Court Street Village is seen on Sept. 23. 2022. (Nicholas Chan | Flint Beat)
Gregg Outen poses for a portrait on the patio of his home at McFarlan Court Street Village on Sept. 23. 2022. (Nicholas Chan | Flint Beat)

The redevelopment project is part of MCC and PVM’s efforts to help individuals age in place. Erica Thrash-Sall, MCC’s executive director, said the opening of Hamilton-McFarlan clinic last year was the first step to providing a continuum of care. And the redevelopment project continues MCC and PVM’s goal to offer residents the care they need. 

The project includes renovations to make McFarlan Court Street Village more wheel-chair friendly, creating dedicated spaces for wellness and upgrading the residence’s digital technology. Congregate dining services will also be available to both residents and non-residents at affordable rates. 

Outen added, “Replacing the heating and cooling system, installing new accessible showers, having energy efficient appliances, removing carpet, replacing old windows are all a part of the renovation and the revitalization of this community.” 

McFarlan Court Street Village’s building on 700 E. Court St. is seen on Sept. 16, 2022. (Nicholas Chan | Flint Beat)
McFarlan Court Street Village’s building on 800 E. Court St. is seen on Sept. 16, 2022. (Nicholas Chan | Flint Beat)

The building on 800 E. Court St. will have 149 subsidized units, and there will be 119 units in the 700 E. Court St. building with 36 dedicated to older adults in need of supportive services, according to Thrash-Sall. All in all, she said the project adds 13 new units of affordable housing to McFarlan Court Street Village.

The redevelopment project will be complete in 2024, and MCC along with PVM are currently fundraising through donations to fill a $5 million gap in funding for the $50 million project. Beyond renovating McFarlan Court Street Village, MCC has long-term plans to develop vacant land surrounding the residence and to renovate McFarlan Home on 700 E. Kearsley St.

“McFarlan is committed to providing high quality, affordable housing to older adults in Flint,” Thrash-Sall said. “One of the things that we know as an organization [is] that housing is not enough for older adults. They have to have services, coordination of services [and] access to services to help them have a good quality of life.” 

Nicholas is Flint Beat’s public health and education reporter. He joins the team as he graduates from Santa Clara University, Calif. Nicholas has previously reported on dementia and brain health, as...