Survey finds many Michigan communities struggling with housing shortage
A recent survey by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan found officials in many of the state's communities feel they lack affordable housing.
The Michigan Public Policy survey found 27% of respondents said they had enough affordable housing.
The poll also found that only 24% of governments polled said they had a construction workforce to meet future demand. And 54% said they have too few entry level housing options.
The poll asked 1,307 local government leaders questions about the housing markets in their area. Debra Horner, the senior program manager for the survey, said local governments are worried. She said the survey has revealed significant increases in the amount of local governments without ample affordable housing since 2017.
“If you don't have sufficient affordable housing in these communities, it's going to be impossible to retain and attract some of those younger workers and ... taxpayers,” Horner said.
Horner pointed out that rural local communities expressed much more concern compared to 2017. That year, 17% of officials from rural places said that they had concerns about too little housing, she said. "That's grown to 40% this year.”
Horner said the issue of unaffordable housing is spreading. “So what used to be a more suburban concern has really seen a lot more alarm coming from local officials in rural places and mostly rural places.”
So what are the major issues? Local leaders said there isn’t a significant amount of workforce to build houses. “Not only is there a lack of housing, but there's a lack of workforce … to create new housing in these communities across the state,” said Horner.
The other big issue the survey showed was a lack of cooperation between state and local governments. Most local governments said they were unaware of state assistance. "Local government leaders really are not plugged into that system,” Horner said.
Ultimately the state’s communities need affordable housing, Horner said. “It is a foundational problem for a lot of local communities who are looking to stop the brain drain and increase the population in their community. So housing is one of those issues that local governments definitely have a stake in and a concern in.”