Allegan County News & Union Enterprise News

Housing remains important issue in county

By John Raffel

ALLEGAN – Stephanie Calhoun of the Allegan County Community Foundation, and other representatives of agencies who are working to spur development of “affordable” housing for residents, recently provided an update on their activities.
Allegan County Commissioner chair James Storey said a draft housing assessment study will be released
this week that documents the shortage of suitable housing for residents moving into the county.
“The 2020 census documented county population increased 8 percent during the 2010-2020 decade. With major expansion projects underway or recently completed upping employment levels, the demand for housing is certain to increase, according to the housing collaborators,” Storey said. “Calhoun reported the shortage of suitable housing in the county is in the range of 6,200 units.
“The county working in cooperation with the city of Otsego has readied the former Rock Tenn industrial site for reuse with an intended goal of planting housing for several income levels on the brownfield site. In addition to the community foundation, representatives of Allegan County Community Action, OnPoint (community mental health), and the county health department all participated in the presentation.”
Storey said Jeff Schilling, is a researcher and strategic planning consultant, who reported several research sources that revealed housing and day care costs were among the top economic challenges faced by families.
“The housing project is one of the Board of Commissioners focus areas in its 2023-2027 strategic plan,” Storey said. “The county’s role is to help incite several organizations who have identified increasing the housing supply as a focus area toward working together and providing support for their efforts.”

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