95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Housing Kent highlights key issues in the housing crisis

Row Housing Development Memphis, TN
Wikimedia Commons
Row Housing Development Memphis, TN

According to Housing Kent’s data dashboard, entry-level home prices increased by 126% between 2015 and 2022, while wages only increased by 26%.

A West Michigan nonprofit is taking a community-approach to tackling the housing crisis. Housing Kent has launched a Housing Affordability Indexwhich allows Kent County residents access to housing statistics in the area.

The first-of-its-kind data dashboard reflects the rising unaffordability of housing, targeting key performance indicators (KPIs) including homeownership affordability, rental affordability, homelessness and equity.

“The dashboard presents a clear overview of the housing issues and serves as an excellent tool for getting everyone on the same page about how we can partner together on solutions,” said President of Housing Kent, Eureka People. “We want this data dashboard to debunk the thought that silos have been working and, instead, uplift a platform for multi-sector collaboration, resource sharing, and data-driven innovations that improve outcomes.”

According to Housing Kent’s data dashboard, entry-level home prices increased by 126% between 2015 and 2022, while wages only increased by 26%. A typical entry-level home in Kent County costs $205,707, which requires an annual income of $62,000, while the median annual wage is $42,740.

Within the KPI of homeownership affordability in Kent County, racial disparities in homeownership remain high, with 76% of White households being homeowners, 46% being Hispanic or Latino, and 32% being Black.

By addressing the systemic disparities in Kent County homeownership, Housing Kent hopes to provide data for systemic change to see an increase in stability, security, and the potential for upward mobility that homeownership provides.

"This powerful new tool uses data to tell the story of how West Michigan is getting hit by the housing crisis," said Amy Hovey, CEO and Executive Director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). "Michigan was the birthplace of the middle class, and attainable homeownership and rental opportunities are key to keeping the American Dream accessible for our neighbors. Working with partners like Housing Kent, we're building and rehabilitating thousands of homes to make sure that dream stays within reach in West Michigan and around our state."

Housing Kent believes the continuous to monitoring of housing affordability combined with a hub of up-to-date housing metrics, helps to ensure all factors influencing housing affordability can be taken into account when making systemic decisions.

“This is the first time that we have had such high visibility of the entire Housing Continuum. We are highlighting what is needed to solve for homelessness in KentCounty,” said Courtney Myers-Keaton, Director of the Coalition to End Homelessness (CoC).

In the future, Kent County residents can expect state and national data comparisons, mortgage approval rates, and more. Housing Kent also plans to release their State of Housing report that will include strategy, policy, and investment solutions.

Related Content