Detroit Regional Chamber > Mackinac Policy Conference > Fixing ‘Help Wanted’ Requires Housing Solutions

Fixing ‘Help Wanted’ Requires Housing Solutions

June 1, 2022

Key Takeaways:

  • 38% of Michigan households struggle to afford basic necessities, including housing.
  • The Michigan State Housing Development Authority is publishing a new housing plan to address complex, intersecting barriers that prevent families from attaining affordable housing.
  • Today’s top concern in the workplace is attracting talent to jobs in areas without attainable housing.

 width=“Housing is essential to creating communities and thriving families. Unfortunately, too many households are struggling to find housing,” said Tiffany King, equity and inclusion officer at Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). “A collaborative approach was necessary to overcome these challenges [to finding housing] and create economic opportunities within our state.”

The collaborative approach King referenced is Michigan’s Statewide Housing Plan, which MSHDA created with the vision of Michigan becoming a successful housing ecosystem that provides affordable, accessible, and attainable housing for all in a community of their choice.

King discussed this five-year plan during the Mackinac Policy Conference at the session “Fixing ‘Help Wanted’ Requires Housing Solutions.” She was joined by a panel moderated by Fifth Third Bank’s Jason L. Paulateer and comprised of:

  • Brian Calley, President and Chief Executive Officer, Small Business Association of Michigan
  • Mike Duggan, Mayor, City of Detroit
  • Amy Hovey, Housing Specialist, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity

 width=The plan has five statewide housing targets, including creating over 75,000 new or rehabilitated housing units, ensuring 100,000 households have stable housing, reducing the equity gaps in homelessness and homeownership, striving to make homelessness rare, and increasing the home energy efficiency for over 15,000 households. It also includes eight priority areas, 37 goals, and 134 strategies surrounding community development opportunities that influence or rely on housing, such as public spaces and jobs.

According to Calley, housing is an important component of communities attracting talent to jobs. He believes finding housing has gotten so difficult that employers are now buying houses so they can attract talent and sell them to new hires.

“The demand is there for business services, the jobs are being created, the entrepreneurs are doing their thing…and yet, in many areas of our state, the availability of housing is the thing that’s in the way,” Calley said.

Cities are also implementing programs to create and keep affordable housing, such as Detroit’s housing auction, where three abandoned houses are auctioned per day to be renovated, bringing more housing options to the community.

The City of Detroit also offers incentives for landlords to renew their leases after their 30-year federal tax credits run out instead of selling them at the market rate. According to Duggan, this initiative has kept families in 6,602 rentals across Detroit from experiencing homelessness so far.

MSHDA’s new housing plan hopes to help create more initiatives like this, ultimately overcoming intersecting challenges that Michigan families face when looking for affordable housing.

“People will be successful if insurmountable obstacles are pulled out of the way,” Calley said.

Thank you to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority for hosting this session.