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Ann Arbor set to vote on 20-year affordable housing millage


Ann Arbor voters will decide next week on a proposal that would raise an estimated $130 million (in today’s dollars) over the next 20 years to create 1,500 affordable housing units.

If passed, Proposal C would impose a millage on all tax-paying property owners (so, for example, that would exclude the University of Michigan), but low-income homeowners would be able to apply for a tax abatement.


Supporters say the new units would go to thousands of people impacted by a housing crisis worsened by COVID-19: childcare workers, dishwashers, EMTs, home health aides, assistant teachers, and others who’ve been deemed essential. 


Chuck Warpehoski, co-director of the Prop. C campaign, says “if we want to be the kind of caring, inclusive city that we say that we are, passing the millage is the best way to move that forward.”


The homes would be available to households making less than 60% of Ann Arbor’s median income, which, for a single-person household, is $71,100


Aubrey Patiño is executive director of the affordable housing developer Avalon Housing, which owns and manages 292 rental units in Washtenaw County, mostly in Ann Arbor. She says she knows people choosing between eating and paying their rent. 


“To a hesitant taxpayer, I would say that this issue is gonna land in our laps either way,” she said. “And this is a really strategic and humane way to address this need.”


Prop. C would allow the Ann Arbor Housing Commission, as well as non-profit and private developers, to build on land that the city of Ann Arbor already owns. 

Under the millage, someone whose property has a taxable value of $100,000 would end up paying $100 in taxes.


A poll conducted over the summer indicated broad support for the proposal. It faces no organized opposition.

Will Callan, a reporter for Michigan Radio, hails from the Bay Area, where he lived in Oakland and San Francisco and reported for local newspapers and magazines. He enjoys a long swim in chilly water (preferably followed by a sauna) and getting to know new cities. That's one reason he's excited to be in Ann Arbor, which he can already tell has just the right combo of urban grit and natural beauty to make him feel at home.
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