Rising Population in Kent County Emphasizes Housing Gap
Data released last week from Housing Next shows an increased housing gap since 2020 of an additional 13,000 households in Kent County. Population and household growth over the last years have been the largest contributors with interest rates, construction costs, and the labor shortage adding to the challenge.
Since 2020, nearly 5,000 new units were permitted for both for sale and rental product type. With a shortage of nearly 35,000 up from 22,000 just two years ago, that progress is significant but there is more work to be done. Thankfully, housing supply solutions are already underway. The increased need, however, speaks to the need to accelerate this work and we need everyone to be at the table.
The new projects show the greatest rental gap is for households earning 51%-120% Area Median Income (or AMI). It is also the same earning level where over half of all demand for for sale product is needed. This workforce development housing is also difficult for the market to provide product for because of cost increases as well as regulatory barriers.
The update to the Housing Needs Assessment shows demand for 13,000 additional households since 2020.
Addressing the Issue through Advocacy
We know that gap financing, allowing more housing products to be built through zoning reform and community will building combined create an environment where residential development can thrive.
Both Ottawa and Kent Counties through the ARPA process invested significant dollars into housing solutions with the creation of a fund to provide gap financing to bring new units online now. Kent County also committed to providing grant dollars to local municipalities willing to update their zoning to allow for more housing diversity in their community.
Take Action Now
Now, we need to see communities from every corner of the region to take advantage of these new and locally driven tools to provide real solutions now for current and future residents.
- Join our webinar on Michigan Housing Tools – Friday, February 24
- Read the findings from the Housing Needs Assessment
- Join the coalition