Lawmaker’s efforts allow HUD-financed projects to participate in PACE

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich., April 12, 2024 — State Rep. Betsy Coffia (D-Traverse City) announced this week a major milestone in helping affordable housing developers make clean energy investments on their properties. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will now allow Michigan developments that receive funding from the department to participate in the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program.

“I am so grateful that two of my biggest priorities as a legislator — affordable housing and renewable energy — will grow together as a result of this effort,” Coffia said. “When we can eliminate red tape that is getting in the way of common-sense, people-first policies, businesses and residents alike will share in the benefits.”

A photo of state Rep. Betsy Coffia speaking at a business scams town hall while Attorney General Dana Nessel looks on.

State Rep. Betsy Coffia (D-Traverse City) speaks at a Business Scams Town Hall while Attorney General Dana Nessel looks on.

Previously, housing projects in Michigan that received HUD funding could not access PACE, a mechanism for property developers to finance projects to decarbonize or reduce energy consumption. HUD requires a state attorney general opinion before it will consider approving PACE projects.

In August 2023, Coffia wrote a letter to Attorney General Dana Nessel, seeking an official opinion on whether PACE constitutes a special assessment. In October, Nessel published the opinion stating that, per Michigan law, PACE funding is a special assessment and is compatible with HUD requirements. In November, Lean & Green Michigan, which administers PACE on behalf of more than 50 local governments, wrote to HUD asking for an updated review. Last week, HUD responded with approval and will consider proposals for HUD projects to access PACE on an individual basis.

“The lack of affordable housing is at a crisis point. Michigan is also working diligently to increase its renewable energy supply and help residents lower their utility bills. This news is a true win-win for Michigan and the people who call it home,” Coffia said. “It was an honor being a part of bringing this to fruition, and I will continue doing everything in my power to help people who want to live in this beautiful state afford to do so.”