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Lawmakers introduce bills to increase affordable housing in Michigan

Apartment building in Detroit
Joseph Wingenfeld

Michigan lawmakers have introduced a package of bills to allow local governments to use rent control to keep housing affordable.

Under Michigan law, local governments are prohibited from enacting rent control policies. This legislation would change that.

Democratic State Senator Jeff Irwin says rent control is an effective way to keep housing in Michigan affordable.

“It’s been illegal here in the state of Michigan for many years. I’m generally a fan of local control and allowing local communities to address these local concerns with strategies that make sense locally,” said Irwin.
Irwin says the state has done a poor job of ensuring there is enough affordable housing, so local districts need more power to do it themselves.
"I think we need to give our local governments as many tools as possible, especially while the state is doing such a poor job of investing in affordable housing,” he said.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates Michigan is short roughly 200,000 affordable rental homes for extremely low-income renters.

For 70% of extremely low-income renters, housing is considered a “severe” cost burden, meaning it eats up over half of their income.

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