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Mutually Inclusive
A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

City of GR begins community engagement process around affordable housing


Last Spring, the housing Advisory Committee developed 11 recommendations to address the lack of affordable housing in the city. Of those recommendations, four have been approved by the city commission, but the remaining have been stalled. 

The Grand Rapids City Commission driven by the concerns of residents, neighborhood associations and community organizers asked the Planning Department to do more community engagement. 

The city the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology to engage the residents of Grand Rapids to gather feedback. 

Brandy Arnold, Public Agency Community Catalyst Table Host, asked the Kristin Turkelson, Assistant Planning Director, if there was a study done in association with the proposed amendments.

“Have any other municipalities, other cities implemented similar measures to these and what were the impacts of those measures, has the city done due diligence in looking into those particular measures and what the impacts on the cities have been that have done similar things?”, says Arnold. 

“The short answer is there was not a research project that was done in association with these amendments,” says Turkelson. 

The proposed zoning recommendations would permit units dwelling by right. 

By permit or by right means that a nonprofit or for-profit developer could, for example, attempt to turn two single-family homes into four units and would be able to do so without being required to host a public hearing for the community.

A 2016 report titled, Perspectives on Helping Low-Income Californians Afford Housing, indicating that increase in market rate homes over a decade has a significant impact in reducing displacement. 

However, per the report, subsidized housing has a greater impact in reducing displacement but it comes at a higher cost.

I am Michelle Jokisch Polo, and this is Mutually Inclusive for WGVU News.