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 2020 Legislative initiatives

MSHDA Virtual Hearing on modifications to the Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP)

MSHDA will hold a Virtual Information Hearing on Wednesday December 9, 2020, from 9:00am-11:00am, to take comments and recommendations for modification of the Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP). The QAP guides MSHDA’s decisions about the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program, the nation’s biggest funding source for affordable housing. In Michigan, LIHTC is administered by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). 


Housing North has submitted comments and recommendations on the QAP update, based on input received in February 2020 from developers, employers, local government officials and community organizations, with recommendations designed to create additional development opportunities in rural areas. The complete list of recommendations is available below, along with a sample letter of support that your organization can customize and share with MSHDA ahead of the December 9 Information Hearing. 


The MSHDA Information Hearing notice can be found on the Virtual QAP Information Hearing December 9, 2020 page.  Following the hearing, comments and suggestions will also be posted to the Virtual QAP Information Hearing December 9, 2020 page.

To access Housing North's comments and letter of support, click here


Send a statement of support, today! 

Please take action to make more resources available for housing in northern Michigan! Send this statement of support today to: 

Chad Benson

Acting Director of Development

Michigan State Housing Development Authority

P.O. Box 30044 Lansing, Michigan 48909 

Persons who are unable or do not attend this Informational Hearing may also submit written comments to the address mentioned below through 5:00pm on December 9, 2020 or can e-mail those comments to ThompsonC7@michigan.gov 

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

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. 

Homestead Exemption  for Workforce Housing: Frequently Asked Questions 


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. 

In solidarity: A message from Housing North

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.

Housing North Policy Position

Housing North Policy Recommendations

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.

Housing North Advocacy Strategy

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. 

Housing North MSHDA QAP Recommendations

Housing North QAP Recommendations -  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. 




Yarrow Brown, Executive Director



Sarah Lucas 

Program and Policy Director


Steve Schnell, Housing Ready Program Director, Charlevoix County



Lissette Reyes, Community Communications Coordinator


Kelly Smith

Baker College, Cadillac

Tony Lentych 

Traverse City 
Housing Commission


Caroline Kennedy 

Village of Elk Rapids


Josh Mills

City of Frankfort


Steve Parsons 

Little River Band of 
Ottawa Indians

Precia Garland

Missaukee County 


Carlin Smith 

Community Affairs Manager,

Northern Michigan

Consumers Energy


Sarah Hagen

President, Charlevoix Area Chamber of Commerce 

Sharon Oriel

Leelanau County Housing Action Committee

Annie Olds

Small Business Development Center Regional Director

Kalkaska County


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