Ferndale looks to approve affordable housing plan in August

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published August 11, 2020

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FERNDALE — The Ferndale City Council received at its July 27 meeting an update on its Community Affordability and Inclusive Housing Action Plan.

The final plan document will be considered at the council’s Aug. 24 meeting. Before then, members of city staff and LSA Planning presented council members with the goals and recommended actions of the plan.

As laid out by LSA Planning Senior Associate Ryan Price, the goals in the plan address seniors, renters, the economically vulnerable and a diversity of housing stock.

The six goals are to provide seniors in Ferndale with options to remain in the community as they age; increase the supply of housing units in Ferndale that are affordable and accessible to households that are severely housing-cost burdened, meaning they are paying in excess of 50% of income on housing related costs; ensure that inclusive housing programs and policies in Ferndale are coordinated with the city’s ongoing environmental sustainability initiatives, programs and goals; expand the diversity of the housing stock in Ferndale and ensure that a wide range of housing types at varying sizes and prices are accessible within the city’s housing market; promote and develop programs aimed at increasing the level of homeownership in Ferndale; and ensure that quality housing options are available to Ferndale renters and are affordable to a wide range of income levels.

“This is really something that can be changed,” Price said of the plan. “It’s something that you’ll be monitoring ... on a regular basis but that allows for an opportunity for reflection and for tweaking as necessary because ... these plans are living documents and it’s important to keep them relevant, and a good way to do that is to track the progress.”

Once the Community Affordability and Inclusive Housing Action Plan is passed, Community and Economic Development Director Jordan Twardy said the council, in September, would prioritize elements in its plan as part of their strategic planning process.

“The city looks at all the different things on the plate and then decides what are the priorities for the city over the next year to two years,” he said. “We are on track by the end of that process to know exactly where we’ll be starting and how we’ll be prioritizing this.”

The full plan, Twardy said, will have recommendations for the city to strive for in the next several years, including how to prioritize and invest in affordable housing and putting a plan in place to fund and measure progress.

A big part of its affordable housing initiative is its focus on seniors, people with low-to-moderate incomes and people with fixed incomes who don’t have resources to invest in real estate. Twardy said the city is looking at opportunities to expand access to affordable housing, and that includes maintaining the homes seniors live in and building new units.

“That could be new units, and we’ll still preserve ... existing housing stock. So we care about both. It could lead to, if council chooses to prioritize it, it could lead to us getting involved in building new units,” he said.

“We talk about the housing stock in Ferndale getting a lot older and making sure that we can keep up with the maintenance needs to keep those houses in livable, good condition,” Twardy continued.

The presentation and plan can be found on the city’s website under the July 27 City Council meeting.

The city is accepting comments on the Community Affordability and Inclusive Housing Action Plan. Residents looking to give their thoughts can do so by emailing Community Development Specialist Adam Loomis at aloomis@ferndalemi.gov.

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