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"Missing Middle" program aims to create more affordable housing

A neighborhood in Detroit
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio
Houses in a Detroit neighborhood.

Housing has become increasingly costly and sometimes unaffordable for many middle-income families.

That’s why the Michigan State Housing Development Authority is launching the Missing Middle Program, in addition to existing programs for low-income housing. It will use $50 million in American Rescue Plan funds to provide grants to non-profit developers. They can use the money to finance construction of new homes, or to rehab existing ones.

Program manager Kathy Evans said every region in the state is eligible for funding, “But we are trying to identify and direct funds to a certain amount for each region, so that no one region can just end up with the bulk of the funds.” At least 30% will be reserved for housing development in rural areas.

The program targets both owner-occupied homes and rental properties, said the state housing development authority's Rental Development Director Chad Benson.

Evans said there will be a 10-year compliance period to ensure the homes remain affordable to people within certain income guidelines, between 185% and 300% of federal poverty guidelines.

The first, $15 million, round of the program opened to developer applicants this week, and Evans said MSHDA intends to launch a second, larger round in the spring. The state must disburse the Missing Middle funds by the end of 2026.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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