Collaborative approach to addressing affordable housing shortage is gaining national attention


There is an affordable housing crisis across the country, but the approach taken along the shores of the lake to address this important quality of life issue is hailed as one of the best.

The Housing Next partnership is one of seven partnerships across the country to receive the Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In coordination with the Council on Foundations, HUD announced the 2022 awardees on June 23.

One of the strengths of the award was Housing Next’s model of focusing on housing supply, housing stability and housing subsidies with private sector investment at all price points.

Hadley Streng, president of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation and founding member of the partnership, says the recognition shows the power of working together to solve problems like the affordable housing crisis.

“We are grateful to HUD and the Council on Foundations for recognizing the work of Housing Next,” Streng said. “The collaboration of many public, private and philanthropic partners is what has allowed Housing Next to focus on solving our region’s housing problem, and we look forward to continuing our efforts with other partners. A great deal of work has been done over the past five years, and there is even more need for emphasis now than it was when Housing Next was created.

The power of partnership

Partnership was the key to a one-of-a-kind development to address the shortage of workforce housing in Grand Haven. Dubbed Robinson Landing, the neighborhood north of Grand Haven Memorial Airport is a development of 30 single-family homes that will fill a housing need with new homes that range in price from around $140,000 to $280,000.

This is one of many new affordable housing projects in the works.

The awards recognize the partnership process and its impact as a community strategy to improve the quality of life for low- and middle-income residents in all US geographies – urban, suburban, and rural.

The Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships highlights excellence in partnerships that have both transformed the relationship between the public and philanthropic sectors and led to measurable benefits in housing and community development, including l increased economic development, health, safety, education, workforce development, disaster resilience, inclusiveness and cultural opportunities, innovative regional approaches and access to housing for low and middle income families.

“This year’s recipients represent the great diversity of our nation and the tremendous need that exists in communities in all corners of our society,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge.

The award recognizes the partners who founded Housing Next and contributed to its success over the past five years in Ottawa County as well as the new partnerships that led to Housing Next’s recent expansion as a regional partnership. Partners included the Housing Next Leadership Council partners:

  • The Room – Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg
  • Community Foundation Region Holland/Zealand
  • Grand Haven Area Community Foundation
  • Lakeshore Advantage
  • Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance
  • West Coast Michigan Chamber of Commerce
  • County of Ottawa, United Way of Ottawa and Allegan Counties
  • City of Grand Haven
  • city ​​of holland
  • Town of Hudsonville
  • Grand Haven Area Community Land Trust
  • Grand Haven Charter Township
  • Grand Rapids Chamber Foundation
  • Haworth Inc.
  • Canton of Holland
  • Matthew and Jennifer Haworth
  • Community Capital of Michigan
  • Michigan Economic Development Corporation
  • Michigan Land Bank Authority
  • Michigan State Housing Development Authority
  • Ottawa County Housing Commission
  • Village of Spring Lake

Working together, these partners gave Housing Next the resources to help local communities understand how to use state and federal housing programs that have proven successful in Ottawa County, triggering a 900% increase in investment and housing production for low- and middle-income households using the tax credit program.

Expansion into Kent County

Through a partnership with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber Foundation, the partnership expanded in March of this year to serve Ottawa and Kent counties.

“We are beyond grateful for the collaborations that laid the foundation for Housing Next and its continued impact as a regional partnership,” said Brooke Oosterman, Director of Policy and Communications for Housing Next. “We are proud to have a model that serves to support housing at all price points through cross-sector partnerships and look forward to the work we will do together as a region.

“The partnership created here in West Michigan offers hope for the future, an opportunity for policy reform that allows for smaller lot sizes and higher density to serve our growing population, and to move us forward. significantly in creating the 37,000 new homes needed in the two-county area by 2025.”

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