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Michigan West Coast Chamber Joins Housing Next Announcement of Expanded Regional Effort

Michigan West Coast Chamber Joins Housing Next Announcement of Expanded Regional Effort

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On March 3,  the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce joined Housing Next at Haworth, Inc. to announce a new partnership to grow the effort to identify and remove obstacles for housing supply and affordability in greater Ottawa and Kent Counties. Housing Next partners with local governments, developers, and nonprofits in West Michigan to remove barriers for the creation of housing at all price points. 

As one of the first supporters in the creation of Housing Next and a member of the Board of Advisors, the West Coast Chamber is excited to see the expansion of these efforts to address the growing gap in housing needs in Ottawa and Kent Counties, now estimated at 37,000 units. Housing Next has already supported the approval of thousands of new multi-family rental units and for-sale homes in Ottawa County and managed the Ottawa & Kent County Housing Needs Assessments. This new partnership will focus on increasing housing supply in both counties through coalition building to ensure West Michigan is able to support, attract, and retain talent. 

“Housing Next’s work in Holland and southwest Ottawa County has helped support employers and the growing need for talent in our area,” said Jane Clark, President & CEO of the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce. “This intentional work we do today sets the groundwork for sustainable and necessary growth.”

Through their support and with other West Michigan employers and organizations, Housing Next has added Brooke Oosterman as the new Director of Policy and Communications to lead the growing coalition.

“The opportunity ahead of us to improve economic opportunity and shape healthier, more equitable communities is significant and urgent,” said Ryan Kilpatrick, Executive Director of Housing Next. “The next three years is a critical time in whether West Michigan will see further shrinking housing supply and burdens on households, or whether we can create the conditions to support have desirable housing choices for everyone in our community.”

Housing Next will be immediately working to engage a broad, diverse coalition to support the projects and policies that align with the mission. We will advance this work by communicating and facilitating dialogue on the value and importance of housing supply at all price points, providing subject matter experts to identify obstacles and solutions, and organizing informed support by residents, employers, community leaders and other key stakeholders to achieve aligned policies and projects.

Achieving our shared goals depends on engagement from community stakeholders. 

The next chapter of Housing Next includes;

    Providing up-to-date and accessible information regarding regional and local housing needs across Ottawa and Kent counties. 

    Articulating a context sensitive approach to urban, suburban, and rural communities which allow for more housing choice at all price points while maintaining the character of existing neighborhoods. 

    Educating the public that housing affordability for every household requires more housing supply as well as targeted strategies to stabilize at-risk households. 

    Building an impactful coalition of diverse voices to advance the mission and grow the target audience of the Housing Next communications to support “Yes in My Backyard (YIMBY)” individuals who are prepared to act when called upon. This includes business leaders, institutional leaders, faith leaders, community partners, and residents from every community. 

    Reviewing, proposing and engaging in support of the aligned policies and projects as well as monitor all planning commission and board/council meetings across the two-county area for zoning and development items.

2020 – 2025 Housing Needs

Kent & Ottawa Counties will need at least 13,269 more rental units and 24,654 owner-occupied units by 2025 to satisfy demand.

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