Housing Solutions: What's Next?
March 16, 2023
This event was meant to seek common ground around a common need: shelter. In 2020, Grand Rapids and Kent County faced a combined housing gap of 22,000 housing units, and new research shows that this gap has rapidly expanded to a 35,000-unit deficit. This housing shortage complicates community efforts to address social problems and diminishes our economic potential. Despite a proliferation of federal, state, and local initiatives to address local housing supply challenges this trend has continued to worsen.
The Common Ground Initiative was excited to partner with Housing Next to convene a panel of housing leaders to discuss potential solutions to the local housing shortage. Moderated by Brooke Oosterman of Housing Next, the panel featured Nicole Hofert of the City of Wyoming, Jeremy DeRoo of Dwelling Place, and housing policy expert Shane Phillips, author of The Affordable City. Together, we explored the causes of West Michigan's housing challenges and seek new, innovative solutions to address our region’s housing needs.
“Love to hear an honest assessment of what went wrong in California, if people are really open to looking at it.”
Housing Solutions: What's Next? - Full Event Video
Housing Solutions: What's Next? - Event Clip 1
Housing Solutions: What's Next? - Event Clip 2
Shane Phillips is a researcher, public speaker, and consultant on housing policy and affordability issues. He manages the Housing Initiative within the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, focusing on research, policy analysis, and education, and he co-hosts the UCLA Housing Voice Podcast, a biweekly interview show that translates emerging research for a non-academic audience. He’s the author of The Affordable City, published in 2020, which advocates for a three-pronged approach to solving the housing crisis -- Supply, Stability, and Subsidies -- and offers more than 50 recommendations for advancing those priorities. Outside of his role at UCLA, Shane has presented to audiences across the U.S. and abroad, written for major publications including the Los Angeles Times and Atlantic, taught at the University of Southern California, and worked with local governments and organizations to identify context-specific solutions to their housing challenges. Originally hailing from Seattle, he earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Washington and master’s degrees in public administration and urban planning from USC.
Nicole Hofert is the Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Wyoming, Michigan, where she manages planning and development projects as well as several resident boards and commissions. Since joining the City in 2018, she has been instrumental in bringing community members together to help develop Wyoming [re]Imagined, the City’s new Master Plan. Before her work in Wyoming, she was a private sector planner advising municipalities on comprehensive and master planning after graduating from the London School of Economics with a master’s degree in city design.
Jeremy DeRoo, CEO of Dwelling Place of Grand Rapids, is a proud graduate of Calvin and Grand Valley State Universities. He and his wife, Heidi, share a love of international travel and four beautiful children. Jeremy started his career in non-profit housing development with LincUp, where during his tenure, he was promoted from Housing Coordinator to Operations Director, and eventually to Executive Director. In his career, Jeremy has helped secure more than $100 million in community development and affordable housing funds, impacting thousands of families in the Grand Rapids community and beyond.
Brooke Oosterman joined Housing Next as Director of Policy and Communications to support the expansion into Kent County. Brooke’s extensive experience in economic development, policy advocacy and business support have centered around community development. Since joining the organization, she has led on cross sector partnerships to move housing supply solutions forward. This work has included policy advocacy, community will building, new tool creation and communications strategy. Brooke received her bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Michigan State University.