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State appoints 15 regional partnerships to tackle housing crisis

U.S. Department of Energy
The Michigan Housing Plan aims to encourage the construction of 75,000 new rental units and single family homes in the next few years to address the affordable housing crisis.

The Whitmer administration's Michigan Housing Plan has set an "audacious" goal of 75,000 new homes and rental units in the next few years to address a crisis of affordable housing across the state.

That's according to Amy Hovey, executive director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

Housing has become unaffordable for both lower- and middle-income people in Michigan, she said.

"Close to 50% of our renters are housing burdened, meaning they're spending over 30% of their income on housing expenses," said Hovey. "And the cost of for-sale housing has gone up about 84% in the last decade — while incomes have only gone up about 25%."

Hovey said the average cost of a new single family home is $375,000, and only about 1 million of the 4 million residents needing single-family homes in the state can afford $375,000.

"That's a crazy statistic," she said. "So we're here to [say], how do we address those issues? And the housing plan gives us a path out of the housing crisis."

The state plan calls for 15 regional partnerships dividing up the state and each coming up with a plan that fits the needs of their area.

Hovey said everyone from builders to municipalities to non-profits involved in the issue agree that affordable housing must be subsidized, due to dramatic increases in building costs.

She said the state has allocated about $80 million a year over the next few years to subsidize the effort, but it won't be enough, and there will have to be other sources of revenue, including federal dollars, public-private partnerships, and philanthropic funds.

MSHDA is encouraging everyone, including potential homebuyers, to become involved in the plan being developed by their regional partnership.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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