LANSING, Mich., Feb. 10, 2024 — For the first time in 40 years, Democrats gained control of the Legislature and the governor’s office last year. With its majority, the party that puts people first had a remarkably productive year that resulted in a historic number of bills passed and signed into law. Michigan House Democrats celebrate Day 7 of the Countdown today with a focus on policies that affect communities and affordable housing.
House Dems heard from residents about the need for access to equitable housing. Additionally, they heard from local government officials about the need for help with community development, and Dems delivered.
Newly appointed chair of the Housing Subcommittee, state Rep. Kristian Grant (D-Grand Rapids) is laser-focused on fostering a housing market that encourages economic growth, reduces community blight and increases the opportunity for more Michiganders to prosper and own their own homes.
“For decades, areas like my home of Southeast Grand Rapids have seen decline due to underinvestment at every level. One of our primary goals at the state House is a focus on fighting for economic development. I am thrilled that my colleagues and I have reversed that trend and taken a significant step forward in addressing the needs of our constituents. This has happened by fostering growth with innovative policies like establishing new land banks, and investing in education. We’re paving a path to a brighter future for the people of Michigan,” Grant said.
Democrats have passed several key pieces of legislation to carve out an aggressive plan for affordable housing across the state. The Democratic trifecta made a bold, historic move by adding a dedicated revenue stream for housing in the state budget for the first time ever. By adding this permanent budget line item, $50 million annually will go to a Michigan housing and community development fund, after a threshold of $1.2 billion is met by the Corporate Income Tax.
“The housing crisis we’re facing is at an all time urgency. We simply cannot talk about growing the economy of our state, bringing new businesses and new workers, while we do not have housing for them. And on the other hand, homelessness prevention workers have told me there aren’t enough shelters or space to help Michiganders without a home. Having a home is a key piece in the social determinants of health. If housing is stable, usually a family can better shore up other parts of their lives, like putting food on the table and being able to secure reliable transportation. We’ve got some tough work ahead yet to do to create solutions to the housing problems facing Michiganders. But what Democrats have done so far will go a long way to bring more people into housing-security,” said state Rep. Betsy Coffia (D-Traverse City).
House Bill 4001 dedicates $50 million a year to the Michigan Housing and Community Development Fund. With these funds, revitalizing buildings and providing new life in the construction and development space will continue to address the needs of Michigan communities. Also, Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) allocated $14 million in federal funding to build housing across Michigan, as a result of the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. Democrats have made serious inroads this session to provide solutions to housing problems.
“Without a doubt, housing is the number one challenge for our villages, townships and cities. All generations of a family should be able to access housing — whether they’re just starting out, growing a family or a senior looking to downsize. The new funding from the state is allowing us to work together regionally on housing for the first time. The resources are beginning to meet the scale of the problem,” said state Rep. Jenn Hill (D-Marquette).
Other policies Democrats passed for community development and housing include the creation of land banks across the state in communities currently without one and the requirement of real estate licenses to complete fair housing training, ensuring better access to affordable housing with equity for all Michiganders.
“2023 was a record year for MSHDA’s production and investments, and with the help of our partners in the Legislature, we’re going to raise the bar even higher this year,” said Amy Hovey, CEO and executive director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). “We are moving quickly to make historic commitments to address the housing supply shortage and meet the needs of our neighbors in Michigan and those who want to live here. Let’s get it done!”
For more information about the Countdown to a Better Michigan, including an easy topical guide to the full list of bills passed and signed into law, please go to HouseDems.com/countdown.