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Petoskey housing talks break down state, local data

(From left to right) Tony Lentych of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Melissa Milton-Pung of the Michigan Municipal League, Sarah Lucas of the state Office of Rural Prosperity, Kent Wood of the Housing MI Coalition, Dawn Crandall of the Home Builders Association of Michigan, Andrea Jacobs of Housing North and Nikki DeWitt of the Petoskey Regional Chamber.
Michael Livingston
(From left to right) Tony Lentych of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Melissa Milton-Pung of the Michigan Municipal League, Sarah Lucas of the state Office of Rural Prosperity, Kent Wood of the Housing MI Coalition, Dawn Crandall of the Home Builders Association of Michigan, Andrea Jacobs of Housing North and Nikki DeWitt of the Petoskey Regional Chamber.

Housing advocates heard new data this week around occupations — and how they fare in northern Michigan’s red-hot market.

“Retail sales, cashiers, fast food, waiters, waitresses, cooks, bartenders, receptionists, stock order fillers, teachers assistants, janitors, and housekeeping - these people can’t afford to live anywhere in our region,” said Andrea Jacobs, a Emmet County project coordinator for the nonprofit Housing North.

Jacobs presented the data to a crowd of advocates in Petoskey Monday.

While many of the jobs she names are considered low-income, Jacobs said housing is needed at all price points to help offset intense demand from within and outside the region.

The data comes from the 2023 Housing Needs Assessment, which surveyed the 10-county region of Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee and Wexford Counties.

The number of rental units, for-sale homes and regional income data was also included in the study.

For more statewide housing data, Melissa Milton-Pung presented her findings under the Michigan Municipal League's Housing Data Portal.

The portal is free and contains detailed housing market data for every county, city and village in Michigan. It will continue to be updated with more developments over the years.

“You can see the racial disparity index to see the history of redlining in your community,” Pung said. “You can see how housing type is a huge problem in many communities. If you’re losing multi-family housing and you have an increasing population of smaller households… where are you going to go?”

Both Jacobs and Milton-Pung said with more data, advocates can help communities better understand the need for development.

They were joined by other housing advocates at the Crooked Tree Arts Center for the Petoskey Regional Chamber’s “Hot Topics” program.

Panelists from regional and state agencies echoed a need for collaboration across multiple agencies and stakeholders.

Michael Livingston covers the area around the Straits of Mackinac - including Cheboygan, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties as a Report for America corps member.