As part of the Hauenstein Center’s Common Ground initiative, a panel of housing experts assembled on March 16 at the DeVos Center’s Loosemore Auditorium on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus to discuss the housing crisis facing Grand Rapids and West Michigan.
Grand Rapids and Kent County are facing a shortage of affordable housing that will have detrimental effects on the region’s livability and appeal, unless more partnerships are nurtured and communities can develop strategies, the panelists said.
Brooke Oosterman, director of policy and communications for Housing Next, moderated the discussion which included Shane Phillips, author, consultant and researcher; Nicole Hofert, director of community and economic development for the City of Wyoming; and Jeremy DeRoo, CEO of Dwelling Place.
Oosterman opened the conversation with sobering statistics. Citing data from Housing Next’s 2022 Housing Needs Assessment, Oosterman said Kent County faces a shortfall of 35,000 housing units over the next five years given the projected demand. That number increases to 49,000 housing units for the region of Ottawa and Kent counties.