New plan designed to help residents find affordable housing

The rising cost of rent is making it harder for people to keep up.
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 5:47 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - The rising cost of rent is making it harder for people to keep up.

A new, first-of-its kind effort could make it easier for Michiganders to find affordable housing.

“The average rent in Michigan is about $888,” said Karen Gagnon, senior policy advisor at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

Gagnon said Michigan ranks in the middle of the pack nationwide when it comes to the price of average rent, but more work needs to be done as far as available inventory.

“It is very difficult to find, especially affordable rental units,” Gagnon said.

Gagnon helped design Michigan’s Statewide Housing Plan. The five-year plan aims to add at a minimum, thousands of housing and rental units across the state.

“In general, Michigan lacks. We’re almost at a critical state of lacking affordable housing units whether they’re rental or ownership,” Gagnon said.

Gagnon said the plan has not reached the implementation stage yet. She said state lawmakers have already directed some federal stimulus money Michigan has received for affordable housing.

“This is a bipartisan issue. Everybody deserves housing. It’s a basic need and right,” Gagnon said.

Gagnon said both federal and state lawmakers are considering several pieces of legislation related to affordable housing. She said it is critical to leverage funding in a way that allows the statewide housing plan to have an immediate impact.

“We have an opportunity that we’ve never had before in my lifetime. And so, I think things can get better. I think that there can really start seeing a difference within about a year and a half, maybe sooner,” Gagnon said.