Marquette badly in need of affordable housing options

There are plenty of nice places to live in the Marquette area.

Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, just peruse the real estate ads on any given day and you’ll find a great many desirable homes, assuming, of course, you have the cash. Put another way, Marquette needs an infusion of affordable housing options, be it for young families, college students or senior citizens.

The problem isn’t exclusive to this area. Housing and development officials nationwide cite something near a crisis in affordable housing. Why? Certainly the fact that, generally speaking, profit margins on upscale housing are much more substantial than on basic accommodations, must play a role.

In response, the Marquette City Commission recently took action to set up an Ad Hoc Housing Committee to help develop solutions and implement strategies to reverse the high-cost trends, a recent Mining Journal story on the matter detailed. Marquette Mayor Jenna Smith requested the commission establish the committee and appointed Commissioner Evan Bonsall as a representative.

“This is something I’ve been asking for two years and I’m thrilled to see it finally come to fruition. Obviously, we’ve got some details we need to work out but I feel like this is a good starting place,” Smith said in the Journal story.

We agree with Mayor Smith. The easy play here would be for the commission to kick the can down the road, do nothing and let market forces do its work. Problem is, all that’s likely to get you is another condo or townhouse project somewhere and very little movement on the basic problem.

For the record, there’s nothing wrong with building nice places to live. We support developers doing whatever their market research suggests they should do. That said, a lot of people on limited budgets need decent housing in Marquette and it apparently isn’t available. It’s time to change that.

Interested in sitting on the committee? Anyone with knowledge and experience with housing is encouraged to apply to serve on the Ad Hoc Housing Committee at marquettemi.gov but time is short. The Marquette City Commission will appoint seven more members on the committee Monday.