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MI Advocates Call Affordable Housing Key in 'Build Back Better'

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Thursday, November 18, 2021   

DETROIT -- Groups say the Build Back Better Act would bring economic opportunity to many Michigan residents, from helping with access to affordable housing and childcare to creating millions of new jobs.

The House is expected to vote soon on the budget spending package, as Americans continue to face economic hardships due to the pandemic.

Luke Forrest, executive director of the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, said now is the time to make the investment.

"There's a lot of things with the tax code; creating access to benefits for downtown businesses, entrepreneurs," Forrest outlined. "But also for parents and low-income households to access child care, access educational benefits, and build a stronger future."

Forrest added Michigan is facing an affordable housing crisis, and the bill would fund a million new affordable homes across the country, as well as invest in rental and down-payment assistance, to help residents stay in their homes or buy new ones.

Forrest pointed out the data show Michigan has a multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall in terms of affordable housing and workforce housing.

"There's some urgency, because we need to get ahead of the next construction season," Forrest asserted. "I always think the beginning of winters is really the time to make these investments at the federal and state level, because it takes some time to get these things moving."

The bill also would help roughly 95,000 Michigan residents get health insurance, and more than 80,000 would save hundreds of dollars a year on premiums.

It also includes free school meals for an additional 350,000 children in Michigan to reduce child hunger. Nearly 275,000 households with children in the latest Census Bureau survey reported sometimes or often not having enough to eat.


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