Housing North works to identify and influence policy that impacts development opportunities in rural Michigan. With input from a diverse range of partners, we work to provide recommendations for change in our communities.
Housing North backs bill to Boost Workforce Housing Options
In collaboration with our partner Kent Woods from Borealis Strategic, LLC, Housing North has worked to propose legislation to create additional rural workforce housing from some of the region’s vast short-term rental property stock is before state lawmakers. The proposal would amend Michigan’s general property tax act to allow property owners to receive a homestead exemption - eliminating the 18-mill non-homestead property tax levy collected for Michigan school districts - for properties utilized for rural workforce housing. To learn more about this initiative, click here.
The affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2019
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, the nation’s largest funding source for new affordable housing development, is needed to support the development of new below-market homes and units. But rural communities and others face an uphill battle when competing for these funds, and few projects in northern Michigan receive funding. Now, Congress is considering changes that may broaden access to the program. The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2019 (HR 3077/S. 1703) is a bi-partisan bill to expand and strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, including specific new provisions for rural regions.
Some key provisions in the bill include an increase of housing credit allocations, making rural areas eligible for additional credits, and enabling the housing credit to better serve hard-to-reach communities, including rural, Native American, high-poverty, and high-cost communities. This would benefit any number of cities, towns, and communities across northern Michigan and the upper peninsula. Housing North urges you to contact Representative Jack Bergman to share your support for this bill, and to encourage him to sign on as a co-sponsor. More information on the ACHIA is available below and on the ACTION website.
Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Talking Points (from the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition and ACTION)
Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act: Comprehensive Summary (from ACTION)
Full Bill Text
Housing North Letter to Honorable Jack Bergman
A message from Housing North in these difficult times of crisis
Our country is going through difficult times and we stand in solidarity and support all those that are, and have been, speaking and working for justice and equality for all.
Housing North COVID-19 Statement: Michigan's response
This year, our worlds and realities have significantly changed due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we adjust to life under Michigan’s emergency response and stay-at-home order, one thing is clear: our homes have never been more necessary to our individual and collective well-being than they are right now. We need them now to protect public health - and going forward, to minimize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Housing North’s COVID-19 Position and Policy Recommendations discuss Michigan's response to the pandemic, priority actions and some recommendations to consider to address immediate and long term housing needs. Click here or the links below to access the statement.
Legislative & Policy Initiatives
With input from the Housing North Advocacy Committee, Housing North has developed an Advocacy Strategy, and is continuing to work with Borealis Strategic to advocate for policy pillars identified in the strategy (for the complete strategy, click on the link below):
Taxes: Develop a new and innovative tax structure for property owners seeking to provide long-term (greater than one month) rental housing for the workforce.
QAP Changes for rural communities: Amend the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) to better address rural housing needs in the region.
Vacation rentals: Mitigate impacts of short-term rentals on year-round housing stock.
Funding: Create new and preserve existing revenue streams that can be used for housing initiatives.
Rural Interests: Ensure that rural housing and related needs are considered part of the structure of state government.
Low Income Housing Tax Credit - Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP)
The low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program is the nation’s biggest funding source for affordable housing. In Michigan, it’s administered by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). MSHDA awards funding for projects based on a “rulebook” - the qualified allocation plan, or QAP - that’s updated every two years. The QAP was due for an update in 2020 giving Northwest Michigan the opportunity to share our concerns and priorities for the program.
On February 6, 2020 Housing North held a round-table with developers, employers, local government officials and community organizations to provide an overview of the low-income housing tax credit program and QAP update process, identify barriers to using the program in Northwest Michigan, identify potential changes to the program that could benefit Northwest Michigan and provide advocacy recommendations and talking points.
Based on that input, Housing North recommendations for 2020 QAP update process focused on changes that would help address the needs of rural communities in our region:
Flexibility for walk-ability requirements
Lower points for certain financing approaches
Flexibility for transit requirements
Tier structure for proximity to amenities
Click on the links below to learn more about the recommendations and download the sample statement of support.
MSHDA has postponed the update process, as well as awards for the April 2020 round of LIHTC funding, in light of the evolving pandemic and emergency response. Housing North will post updates on the process as they become available.