Affordable housing is key to region’s future, well-being

As housing rental rates and price tags on new homes continue to rise at astonishing rates in Marquette County and beyond, Community Action Alger Marquette has partnered with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to create Michigan’s first-ever Statewide Housing Plan.

The plan is a five-year initiative “charting priorities, goals and strategies to address the complex challenges impacting housing equity,” officials said in an announcement.

The SHP outlines five statewide housing targets that represent the minimum of what will be accomplished from plan activities, including the preservation and creation of 75,000 affordable housing units, stabilization of 100,000-plus households’ housing, increases in home energy and efficiency in 15,000-plus households and more.

The plan also outlines eight priority areas, each with its own set of goals, strategies and outcome measures to guide action planning in regions across the state, as well as 37 goals and 134 strategies “to create more robust pathways to safe quality, affordable housing for all Michiganders,” officials said in the announcement.

The SHP was created to identify and address the “often-linked social and geographic barriers and inequities historically preventing all Michigan residents from gaining access to affordable housing,” officials said.

For instance, 52% of the state’s homeless population are Black, despite making up only 14% of the overall population, according to officials. The cost of housing has also risen dramatically over the last several years. Between January 2013 and October 2021, the average sale price for a home in Michigan increased 84%, officials said. Meanwhile, the average number of building permits being awarded for new housing construction is less than half that of pre-Great Recession levels.

Next steps include the creation of a new statewide housing partnership that will work alongside regional groups and Michigan’s Campaign to End Homelessness to meet the goals of the plan. A public dashboard will also be created to report on statewide and regional outcomes.

We’re glad to see this collaboration between CAAM and MSHDA, as the situation requires intensive work among state and local partners.

If the goals of the plan are accomplished, it could be transformational for the region and state. The housing situation impacts almost everyone — from the young families that struggle to find an affordable home to purchase, to low-income adults and seniors who want to rent a clean, comfortable place without exhausting their budgets. But without affordable housing, communities struggle to retain, and attract, families, workers and businesses — all things that help make our communities whole and vibrant. We hope to see this plan move forward and change lives for the better, as safe, affordable housing is a backbone of strong, healthy communities.

For more information on the SHP, visit Statewide Housing Plan at https://www.michigan.gov/mshda/developers/statewide-housing-plan.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today