More families homeless due to lack of affordable housing

Traverse City's growing appeal for families and lack of housing is making it hard for low income families to find places to live.

More families nationwide are homeless now due to a lack of affordable housing, according to Ryan Hannon, Street Outreach Coordinator for Goodwill Northern Michigan. Traverse City is one of many regions feeling the effects of this.

"Lack of affordable housing is a big reason that homelessness exists," Hannon said. "The lack of affordable housing in the area has increased the time people are spending experiencing homelessness, because it's hard to get out of homelessness than in the past."

With Traverse City being a popular tourist destination, it is also becoming more of an attractive place to raise a family. This is leading to fewer affordable places for rent for many families.

"Traverse City is a very desirable place to live, Ashley Halladay-Schmandt, Housing resource specialist for Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency, said. "In particular, one bedroom apartments are not very affordable in this area."

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, about 200,000 rental housing units are destroyed annually, with renting being one of the most viable options for low income people.

Many families now can't even afford a one-bedroom apartment, especially in the Traverse City area.

The Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency hopes that more affordable housing becomes available in the area, either by building more low-income housing or having landlords re-consider their rental prices.

"We have people in this community that need (affordable housing)," Halladay-Schmandt said. "I would hope that people change their minds about homelessness and really try to help people."

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