LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, on Tuesday, July 27, proposed spending $100 million in federal COVID-19 rescue funds to expand access to affordable housing.
The aid would go to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, which helps finance development projects geared toward low-income residents. The funding would leverage an additional $380 million in private spending, the Democratic governor said, saying it has the potential to assist 6,000 families and develop or rehabilitate 2,000 rental units.
"Our housing challenges, like so many issues, have been exacerbated and come into sharp throughout the pandemic. But they preceded the pandemic, and our work must continue beyond the pandemic," she said during a news conference at Citizens Robotics in Detroit, which tries to reduce the cost of housing construction with concrete 3D printers.
It was her latest proposal to use $6.5 billion in discretionary aid approved by Congress and President Joe Biden. The spending would require approval from the Republican-led Legislature at a time housing officials said builders are not building or renovating homes that people with average or low incomes can afford to buy or rent due to high supply costs and demand from wealthier buyers.
Funds could specifically be used to add workforce housing and, among other things, housing for people transitioning from low-income to middle-income residences. The spending could reduce interest rates for eligible homeowners doing rehab work and provide financing for developers to boost the number of low-income units.
The $100 million investment would be "incredible," said Gary Heidel, acting executive director of the housing authority.
"We're looking to be very creative and innovative," he said.
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