For Immediate Release
July 27, 2021
Contact: Laura Ross
Governor’s plan to invest in affordable housing is monumental commitment to keeping Michiganders safe, healthy
LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s announcement today of a plan to invest $100 million in federal relief dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act into the Michigan Housing and Community Development Fund. The statement can be attributed to League President and CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.
“Safe, affordable housing is crucial for all Michiganders, and Gov. Whitmer’s plan will have a major positive impact on individuals and communities. We know that people have better outcomes in health, economic stability and academic success when they live in healthy homes. But when folks don’t have access to affordable housing, they have to shift spending away from other basic needs like food, healthcare and child care to cover the rent. They’re often forced to make the choice to live in unsafe, unhealthy homes, or become homeless.
“Even before COVID-19, Michigan had an affordable housing crisis. There are only 35 affordable rental units available for every 100 families with extremely low incomes. And a Michigan worker earning minimum wage must work 61 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom apartment. Home prices continue to rise while incomes for low-wage workers are stagnant or have declined. The housing crisis also disproportionately affects Michiganders of color, and provides a stark example of how explicitly racist housing laws of the past continue to drive segregation, poor health and poverty today. The problem has only become more dire since the pandemic. Fortunately, we’re seeing more push for investment from local, state and federal policymakers.
“The governor’s $100 million proposal demonstrates a monumental commitment to ensuring that all Michiganders have affordable, safe, high-quality homes. It aligns with President Joe Biden’s COVID recovery proposals, which affirm that housing is vital infrastructure that our families, communities and economy need to thrive.
“The League and our partners have long advocated for investments in the Michigan Housing and Community Development Fund—it’s been funded only twice since its creation in 2008, most recently in 2012. Previous appropriations leveraged up to $11 in additional investment for every state dollar and helped create thousands of jobs. This would eclipse earlier investment in the Michigan Housing and Community Development Fund, and would—ideally—pave the way for Michigan to create a dedicated funding stream to the Fund.”
The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on opportunity for all. Its mission is to advance economic security, racial equity, health and well-being for all people in Michigan through policy change. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.
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