Home ยป Charlevoix leaders join forces to address housing crisis – Petoskey News-Review

Charlevoix leaders join forces to address housing crisis – Petoskey News-Review

by Arifa Rana

CHARLEVOIX — A group of business owners, elected officials and residents are working to support housing solutions in the Charlevoix community — a problem that has persisted in the small northern city of 2,300 for more than a decade.
According to organizers, the group — called “Housing Yes – Charlevoix!” — consists of diverse people with one common goal: to support better housing solutions for Charlevoix’s year-round residents.
“All of us are affected by this housing crisis,” said Mayor Luther Kurtz, who is one of the group’s organizers. “Our businesses struggle to find employees who can live here, our grown children can’t move back to raise their families here, and our school population continues to decline. As a result, our entire community suffers.”
Local businesses and city officials have been vocal about the challenges they face with worker shortages due to the lack of attainable housing in recent years, said Kurtz.
According to the group, statistics show that while 40 percent of the city’s housing stock is vacant for most of the year, many of the area’s service workers are still having difficulty finding attainable housing, with many having to commute from outside of the area. This problem affects middle-income families as much as it does those in the lower-income bracket. Despite city officials consistently working to address the housing issue, the problem persists.
“We are not proposing any specific housing ideas,” said Kurtz. “Our intent is to be public champions for housing ideas. We will support feasible ideas and provide encouragement for housing ideas that need modification. We aim to create an environment where housing ideas will be met by an open-minded group of people who want to arrive at win-win projects for our community.”
Kurtz added that “Many solid housing ideas get rejected as a good idea but at the wrong time. We firmly believe that the need for attainable housing has reached a crisis point. We can no longer just continue ‘kicking the can down the road’ for later generations to struggle with and solve.”
Sherm Chamberlain, local business owner and current member and former chair of the city’s planning commission, is also a member of the group.
“Our group knows that perfect solutions are unlikely and none of us can claim to have the sole right answer, which is why we value learning together how to be better housing advocates,” said Chamberlain. “Arguably, having more neighbors is important to every one of us — it’s the sign of a welcoming and vibrant community.”
Members of Housing Yes – Charlevoix! state that there are many different solutions to this housing crisis, and concede that “they don’t have all the answers.” They warn, however, that if this housing crisis is not addressed now, their community will find itself even more severely impacted if its business owners, elected officials, and residents don’t “step up and take action collectively.”
Mike Hinkle, president and CEO of Charlevoix State Bank, believes education is key to the success of the group’s efforts.
“Our intent is to educate our friends and family in our Charlevoix community about the critical nature of this housing crisis and engage in a real dialogue, seeking and supporting real solutions,” he said.
There has been plenty of social media activity surrounding this issue, but Housing Yes – Charlevoix! organizers point out that it won’t be solved by debating it on Facebook.
“We aren’t looking for the perfect housing solution, and we won’t solve anything with endless debate on social media. It will take real engagement from all of us in the Charlevoix community to discuss ideas in a way that is constructive,” said Perry Irish Hodgson, another business owner and group member. “Our group is very committed to publicly supporting sound housing proposals as they arise.”
President of the Charlevoix Public Schools Board of Education Tom Kirinovic said, “It’s clear that the status quo isn’t solving the problem. We need to think collectively and differently. We need a unified approach, one that will allow us to adapt our thinking and will ask the very obvious question: what are we prepared to do?
“The vitality of a community is based in large part on families and it is critical for Charlevoix to continue to be a viable prospering community,” he said. “We need to do all we can to attract families. Housing is critical to this process.”
Individuals interested in finding out more and getting involved can visit www.chx-housing.org, follow Housing Yes – Charlevoix! on Facebook, or send an email to team@CHX-Housing.org.

source

0 comment

Related Posts

Leave a Comment