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     Great Housing Strategies Event

    On April 22, 2015, Grand Rapids City Commissioners Ruth Kelly, Senita Lenear and Elias Lumpkins engaged more than 200 people representing nonprofit and for profit housing developers, lenders, neighborhoods, educational institutions, local philanthropy, and local and state government officials in a community conversation about the future of Grand Rapids housing at the Great Housing Strategies event.
    Grand Rapids hosts thirteen colleges and universities, a thriving medical and manufacturing sector, and is a renowned research and development center. It has received national attention in metropolitan rankings ranging from Best Cities for Finding Employment, Best Cities for Raising a Family, and Best Places to Invest. This success and recognition has made Grand Rapids a highly desirable place to live. The increased demand for housing brings with it debate about how much and what type of housing is needed, how much it should cost, and what effect development has on surrounding neighborhoods.
    The Great Housing Strategies event provided cross-sector dialogue that began by sharing individual perspectives on the current state of housing in Grand Rapids. The following three presentations provided data and information along the way, interspersed with group discussions throughout the day. Information compiled from these discussions will be available soon.
    People and Places: A Changing Landscape in Grand Rapids. Gustavo Rotondaro, local data expert and Director of Metric-a, presented past and present population, housing and socio-economic data to highlight the changing landscape of our city and its neighborhoods. The presentation also provided interesting insight to trends in surrounding Kent County communities. Click here to see presentation slides.
    Future Housing Demand: Grand Rapids Residential Target Market Analysis. Laurie Volk, Principal In Charge of Market Studies, Zimmerman/Volk Associates, Inc. presented the final report of a city-wide residential market analysis completed to determine market potential for new housing units over the next five years. Click here to see presentation slides. Click to view the full report or executive summary.
    Public/Private Partnerships: The Art of Great Housing Development. Mark McDaniel, President and CEO, Great Lakes Capital Fund shared his experience in housing and community and economic development, and discussed the “art” in creating great housing for all.
    Next Steps: This was just the beginning! The Great Housing Strategies event launched a process to review best practices, tools and strategies for future housing development in Grand Rapids. Nearly 90 participants volunteered to serve on workgroups that will develop policy and program recommendations to achieve a future state of quality housing options for everyone.