The climbing cost to rent a home in Michigan, advocates say, is destabilizing communities and leaving everyone from seniors to families with children and students living with roommates struggling to make ends meet. Michigan legislators are expected to introduce a “renters’ bills of rights” package in the fall to address this ongoing issue.

Higher building costs, a shrinking supply of low-cost rental units and more people with higher incomes choosing to rent rather than buy are driving the increase in higher-priced rentals and corresponding decline in low-cost units.

Colorado voters passed Prop 123, which will allow 0.1% of the state income tax rate to go toward a number of grants and programs to increase affordable housing, assist unhoused people or prevent eviction, and provide rental assistance, among other provisions. 

Mobile home parks provide affordable housing for millions of low-income residents — including seniors on fixed incomes — to own homes while renting the land underneath. But in an exploding housing market, that land is increasingly in demand for other projects, or park owners propose major rent hikes or changes in leases. Residents have few protections under a patchwork of state laws.

Julie Cassidy writes, “Michigan has suffered from a crisis-level shortage of affordable homes for years and housing programs have been underfunded for decades, but our policy choices in this brief moment will have an impact for generations. By focusing these unprecedented federal resources and our political will on safer, accessible, and inclusive housing for people with disabilities and older adults, we will ensure that all individuals and families are valued.”