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New state program removes barriers to bring more affordable housing to rural Michigan

TRAVERSE CITY — Northern Michigan housing advocates are applauding a new program from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).

After discussions with community leaders during the Statewide Housing Plan tour, MSHDA is making $5 million available to cities, villages and townships to remove barriers that limit affordable housing.

The Executive Director for Housing North Yarrow Brown said rural communities across Michigan are struggling due to the lack of affordable housing.


“We really need resources for our rural communities who don’t have a lot of staff or capacity to be able to enact housing ready changes or zoning changes that would help bring more housing opportunity,” Brown explained.

The money comes as part of MSHDA’s Housing Readiness Program which will help cover the costs for local governments adopting or changing rules, including strict zoning regulations. Communities that apply may receive a grant up to $50,000.

Brown said the funding will have a big impact on smaller communities in Northern Michigan that don’t have a lot of technical support or planning directors on their staff.

“This is a huge opportunity for our region. This will really help those communities that haven’t started yet,” Brown said.

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