Chamber Blog

Regional Issues Council Hosts Conversation on Housing Affordability in West Michigan

Discussion related to housing affordability and availability has become a priority for many communities in West Michigan. In April, the Chamber Regional Issues Council hosted Ryan Kilpatrick, Director of Housing Next, for a discussion on how an Ottawa County focused initiative is planning to collaboratively address these challenges.

After highlighting the collected data showing the housing need in Ottawa County, Ryan described Housing Next’s five-year mission to create a cross-sector, long-term regional strategy increase the affordable housing supply by 5% and support new housing supply. To do this, Housing Next is working to advance public-private partnerships, and match private and nonprofit developers interests with local housing needs.

The Chamber Political Action Committee - May 2018 Update 1
HousingNext’s mission is to provide support for new housing supply within mixed-income and economically resilient neighborhoods

One strategy will be to create more transit-oriented development and encourage development to conduct infill in appropriate areas. Improving burdensome and restrictive zoning that prohibits more innovative approaches is another aspect of the work ahead.
Support by business leaders and community foundations shows a shared priority addressing an issue that is becoming to be highlighted as having a greater impact on talent attraction and retention.

The City of Grand Rapids has had its own “HousingNOW”  proposals, some of which have been approved by the City Commission. The remaining pieces, which include targeted zoning changes and flexibility for higher density, have faced stiff opposition from many neighborhood groups.

It is clear that to address these growth challenges, we need to have a long-term vision. The Chamber will continue to support efforts to increase housing supply in West Michigan communities.
The Regional Issues Council will meet on Thursday, May 17 at 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. to hear from Lou Glazer of Michigan Future.

If you are interested in learning more about joining these conversations, please contact Joshua Lunger at 616.771.0336.

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Joshua Lunger, Director of Government Affairs for the Grand Rapids Chamber

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