Advocate

2019-2020 POLICY PRIORITIES

During the 2019-2020 state legislative session, MCAH will dedicate our policy work towards finding state solutions to both increase access and decrease barriers to safe, affordable rental units for individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of losing their home.

&nbsp

Access to Vital Documents

Our country is in the middle of an affordable housing crisis. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines Affordable Housing as a unit that a household can obtain for 30% or less of its gross income. The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) reports annually in the Out Of Reach Report the number of households that are ‘cost burdened,’ or paying more than 30% of their income on housing. In 2018, NLIHC found that in no county in Michigan can a worker earning minimum wage afford a 2 bedroom unit at Fair Market Rent without being cost burdened.

Individuals experiencing homelessness face unique obstacles accessing safe, affordable housing. Communities may lack the number of necessary units, landlords can refuse to rent to low-income individuals and families, or the cost may be prohibitive. This can leave some with few housing options other than shelters or the street.

At MCAH, we advocate for state policy solutions that expand access to affordable housing and increase available units to low- and very low-income households.

Our 2019-2020 Michigan Legislative Session Policy Asks

Make it easier to obtain vital documents in Michigan by allowing County Clerks to charge the same fee for birth certificates whether they are obtained locally or from MDHHS Central Registry.

Support HBs 4152 & 4153

&nbsp

Increasing Access to Affordable Housing

Michigan needs to invest in affordable housing now. For every 100 extremely low income renters, there are only 37 affordable and available units. And that gap will only continue to increase as wages are not keeping up with rising housing costs. A minimum wage worker would have to work 73 hours per week to afford a 2-bedroom home at fair market rent. Wages are not keeping up with rising housing costs. A minimum wage worker would have to work 73 hours per week to afford a 2-bedroom home at fair market rent.

Fortunately we have a mechanism to fund projects and programs that help Michiganders access affordable housing: The Michigan Housing and Community Development Fund (MHCDF). The MHCDF was created by legislation in 2004 to develop and coordinate public and private resources to meet the affordable housing needs of low income, very low income, and extremely low income households. But it has only been funded twice: in 2008 and 2012.

MCAH believes that we must find a permanent funding source for the MHCDF so that we can fund housing projects to revitalize our communities, create housing options for low income households, and invest in the future of Michigan housing.

Our 2019-2020 Michigan Legislative Session Policy Asks

Create a permanent funding source for the Michigan Housing and Community Development Fund (MHCDF)

&nbsp

Decreasing Barriers to Affordable Housing

You shouldn’t be discriminated against just because of your source of income. But in Michigan this is not only a common practice, but entirely legal to deny a prospective renter just because they receive a housing voucher, veterans benefits, social security, or other legal sources of income.

 A 2018 MCAH survey of homeless service providers shows that 44% of respondents have worked with landlords who won’t rent to clients who are Housing Choice Voucher holders. Nationally, only 1 in 3 voucher holders are protected from source of income discrimination. And where protections are in place, far fewer landlords deny voucher holders.

MCAH believes that when landlords discriminate against voucher holders, as well as individuals with other legal sources of income, then we are unfairly limiting the number of affordable rental units available to those in need. In addition, we’re also limiting housing options to higher opportunity neighborhoods with better schools and employment opportunities. Michigan needs source of income protections in order to break down unnecessary barriers to accessing affordable housing.

Our 2019-2020 Michigan Legislative Session Policy Asks

Support source of income discrimination bills (HBs 5287, 5288 and SB 687) which would make it illegal for landlords to reject potential tenants based on their income, including vouchers, SSI/SSDI, veteran benefits, and any other legal source of income.

&nbsp

Funding Homelessness Services

Federal and state monies go a long way towards helping the agencies who serve homeless individuals. But this funding often falls short of providing the beds, extensive services, medical care and more that are required to truly meet needs. Protecting existing funding resources and providing new funding is necessary to make the long-term and permanent solutions we need to end homelessness in our state.

 At MCAH, we participate in the annual state budget process and advocate for increased funding for homeless service providers and programs.

Affordable Housing Documents

 

Our 2019-2020 Michigan Legislative Session Policy Asks

Support appropriations ask for Emergency Shelter Program (ESP) from $18 to $24 a day
Support appropriations ask for increased revenue for shelter diversion programming
Support appropriations ask for funding for social determinants of health programming
PASSED - Support the Governor's budget proposal for $226,000 to reimburse MDHHS Central Registry and public service agencies that provide documentation of paying birth certificate fees on behalf of category 1 homeless clients and county clerk's offices.