First steps taken to create a regional housing plan in Western UP
HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) - In Hancock, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) held its first meeting on Wednesday.
MSHDA is now enlisting the help of local organizations to create a regional housing plan and form specific solutions for each region. Like the western U.P. Executive Director of MSHDA Amy Hovey said, this regional approach helps address specific housing needs.
“We’re not creating a whole new plan, but really looking at the statewide housing plan, picking out goals and strategies that most closely align to the needs, the values and priorities within each region. We know that each region in the state are different and their priorities and needs are going to be different,” Hovey said.
Hovey said regional leaders will be the ones in charge. MSHDA will provide the capital to help each region. She adds a variety of perspectives will help set the tone moving forward.
“I think what we’re really hoping for is to get a big collaborative, diverse conversation going in these first meetings. Set the tone for how the region will operate and also select the regional lead,” Hovey said.
Attendees participated in exercises to provide input on what specific housing is needed like single family homes or affordable housing. Executive Director of the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region Jerry Wuorenmaa said they were excited to see a high turnout.
“We have a very diverse array of stakeholders here. Local governments, developers contractors and nonprofit housing organizations. We really cast a pretty wide net. So I’m excited to see what they come up with,” Wuorenmaa said.
Wuorenmaa said those ranging from the private sector to non-profits will help play a key role in addressing the demand for housing in the western U.P.
“Government doesn’t always understand the people. I mean, my agency is a government agency. We do our best, but we really we need the private sector input,” Wuorenmaa said. “It can be very hard to get them to a meeting and show the value because they don’t go to meetings for their job like some of us do.”
There will be another housing meeting for the central counties in Marquette on Thursday and one for the Eastern counties in Sault Ste. Marie on Friday.
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