On June 15th, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a statewide plan to build 529 affordable apartments, townhomes, and housing units, investing a total of $13 million to numerous projects.
These investments, according to a press release from the governor’s office, aim to alleviate the state’s housing shortage, lower costs for Michigan residents, and “add approximately $151 million to the state’s economy and create 1,000 jobs.”
Funds will be awarded to developers in cities such as Ann Arbor ($1,500,000 for 50 affordable units), Traverse City ($993,861 for 23 units), Grand Rapids (total $2,816,000 amongst 2 developers for 100 units total) Detroit (total $4,185,486 amongst 4 developers for 183 units total), and others.
“As rent and home prices increase across the country, we are moving forward with an aggressive plan here in Michigan to build more quality affordable housing,” stated Gov. Whitmer in the press release. “When Michiganders have a safe place to call home, it serves as a launchpad for economic opportunity and a strong foundation for people to pursue their potential.”
Chad Benson, MSHDA rental development director, echoes Gov. Whitmer’s sentiment. “We know that creating affordable housing benefits everyone in the state by stimulating local economic growth,” he says, “but it also creates opportunities for Michiganders to have equitable access to safe, quality, affordable housing for their families, making for stable and secure living and upward mobility.”
According to a revised Michigan Poverty and Well-being Map from Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, 12.9 percent of the population statewide are living on incomes below the federal poverty line. More than 40 percent of renting households in the Detroit Metro area, comprising Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties, spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent, the threshold which defines affordable housing.
State and federal governments investing millions of dollars in rental assistance programs have eased the economic burden for many Michigan residents, but Poverty Solutions asserts that long-term solutions are still necessary to solve these problems.
“Since I took office, we have built nearly 12,000 affordable, attainable housing units,” noted Gov. Whitmer in the press release. “Under the Building Michigan Together plan that I signed into law in April, we’re charging forward with an ambitious goal of creating 75,000 new or rehabilitated housing units within the next five years.”
Gov. Whitmer says that “together, we can make necessary investments to create equitable pathways to attainable housing for all Michiganders,” and her most recent housing plan is a great start.