Search for affordable housing in Marquette City continues

On Tuesday, some suggested the biggest problem is money.
Marquette Ad hoc housing committee presents affordable housing plan
Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 5:48 PM EST
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MARQUETTE CITY, Mich. (WLUC) - For more than a year the City of Marquette’s Housing Committee has searched for solutions to a lack of affordable housing for owners and renters.

“Housing affordability is not just a Marquette problem, it’s a nationwide problem,” said Evan Bonsall, City of Marquette Ad-Hoc Housing Committee Chair.

On Tuesday, some suggested the bigger problem is money.

“I don’t think the major problem is necessarily the cost of the housing,” said Jackie Stark, City of Marquette Ad-Hoc Housing Committee Secretary. “I think the bigger problem is wages.”

And research from the committee would back that. According its report, 48 percent of Marquette County renters are paying more than 30 percent of their income on rent compared to 17 percent of homeowners.

Despite this, concerns remain about dropping costs.

“The city needs tax revenue. They’ve been beat up with all the powerplants getting shut down,” said Mark Curran, Currant & Company President. “If housing prices go down, then the tax revenue is going to go down as well.”

The chair of the committee expects further discussion at future meetings.

“At our meeting in April we’re going to be talking about low-income housing and homelessness so how we can get some more lower-income housing developed in the city,” said Bonsall.

Final recommendations to the Marquette City Commission will come in early June.

“I understand the whole picture, but I think we have to be able to attack and bite off what we can actually chew,” said Stephanie Jones, realtor. “We’re not going to be able to solve all the problems.”

Once the committee gives its recommendations, it’s ultimately up to the city commission to make a final decision.

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