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Lenawee County is in the middle of an ongoing housing crisis. Simply put, high demand for housing, coupled with low housing inventory has driven prices up and made it difficult for individuals to both find and afford housing. The average price of a home in Lenawee County is now around $210,000, while the average cost to rent a two bedroom apartment is now just over $1000. In other words, a minimum wage hourly worker would need to spend over half of their yearly income on rent alone

While private sector investment is certainly part of the equation when it comes to increasing housing stock, the private sector cannot be the only solution as it has little incentive to drive down prices. Instead, Lenawee County should establish a Housing Commission to investigate building affordable public housing. This has the potential to not only increase inventory and drive down prices, but has the added benefit of creating new jobs in the construction trades here in the county and adding a revenue generating asset to the county’s portfolio since revenue from housing can be allocated to the general fund (up to 10%) and used to repay any bonds that have been issued. Thus there is no additional cost to the taxpayer. A good example of how this can be managed effectively is Montgomery County, NJ, which has managed to build hundreds of units of affordable housing using this method.

Andrew's Plan for Public Housing: Existing Revenue used to secure bond, combine with Federal & State Grants to Build 100 Unites of Housing and create jobs. Revenu can be used to manage the property, maintenance, repaying the bond, and up to 10% for the general fund. Rent Revenue can also be used to secure additional bonds and complete the process again.

In addition, the county should pass a Right to Counsel Ordinance modeled on the one passed by the Detroit City Council in 2022, which provides free legal representation to tenants facing eviction - thus protecting individuals against potentially predatory landlords. Furthermore, the county should establish a grant program to help existing homeowners afford necessary repairs to their property.

Housing is without a doubt the biggest problem facing Lenawee County, but I believe that together we can solve big problems!

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