LANSING, Mich. — Sens. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), Betty Jean Alexander (D-Detroit), Marshall Bullock (D-Detroit) andJeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) today introduced a five-bill package to deliver housing justice to people faced with increasing rent and eviction notices, and relief that is particularly needed by seniors and those with disabilities.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put on display the fact that we have a housing crisis — and unfortunately it is one that will continue beyond the pandemic unless we take long needed action,” Sen. Chang said. “All Michigan residents deserve the opportunity to find truly affordable housing in their city — and local governments should be given the ability to create policies and programs that fit the housing needs of their vulnerable community members.”
Senate Bills 1131 and 1132, introduced by Sens. Chang and Alexander, respectively, would give local governments the power to create rent-control programs specifically to assist seniors and people with disabilities. These programs could limit rent to no more than 50% of a tenant’s income if they have a disability or are over the age of 70, and if they have lived in an apartment building for five or more years.
“These bills will allow residents of Detroit and elsewhere to keep a roof over their head without having to worry about a stressful move,” Sen. Alexander said. “I think we owe at least that much to them, especially during these extremely tough times.”
Senate Bill 1128, introduced by Sen. Bullock, would require the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to develop and distribute best practice guidelines for assessing the needs of older adults who are displaced from their homes due to rising costs of housing in revitalized or converted neighborhoods.
“As cities like Detroit grow and evolve, we cannot leave the people who’ve been there first and longest behind,” Sen. Bullock said. “Our communities are made better by the seniors who call them home, but we must also respect their special physical, mental, financial, and logistical needs to stay there.”
Sen. Irwin’s bill, Senate Bill 1129, would repeal a 1988 law prohibiting a local government from enacting any policies related to rent regulation.
“As rents continue to rise in thriving cities, we must give locals the tools to ensure that people who work in cities can afford to live in them,” Sen. Irwin said. “Local elected officials have the most efficient means to respond to these changes, and it’s past time we allow them to do so to protect long-term residents.”
Senate Bill 1130 introduced by Sen. Chang would require cities with a poverty rate of 20% or higher or who have local housing ordinances to use the Area Median Income (AMI) developed specifically for that municipality, rather than an AMI for a broader region. The current system of determining AMI does not account for localized poverty rates, which results in policies that do not create truly affordable housing.
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