“We threw everything away including my dad’s ashes. I was ticketed and arrested and thrown out of my house while cleaning it out.” The story of Crystal White, a woman who is currently out of a home due to the lack of compliance and disaster relief in Michigan, ilustrates how the housing crisis in Michigan has affected people in the area.
In 1988, the Michigan government passed a law prohibiting rent control; allowing property owners full reign to control their own property’s rent. Sep. 7 a new bill was brought forward to amend this law, allowing state and local government to enact their own ordinances with regards to rent control and regulations.
“I am actually one of the technically homeless. I’ve been homeless for almost three years because my house flooded and there was no compliance,” White said.
According to HomelessSheltersDiscovery.org, an estimated 476 persons are deemed homeless in Ingham County as of 2019 – a 17% increase from 2018. 26 of those being veterans who served in the United States Military. In July of 2023, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer allocated $2 million to fight veteran homelessness. 4.6% of that funding goes to the veterans of Ingham County and Lansing. Leaving an estimated 450 individuals homeless with no government funding.
Movements and protests have been organized in mid-Michigan in an effort to raise awareness and combine voices to be heard out near the capitol. One of the iniatives is the movment “The Rent is Too Damn High”, organized by people who fight the increase of average rent costs on a year-to-year basis in Michigan.
On Sept. 5, the “Rent is Too Damn High” movement organized a peaceful protest at the state Capitol. They advocated for three court demands from the state government that would impact the local rules about rent.
Justin Yuan, an event organizer with the McKinley Tenants Association, spoke on this matter representing the Huron Valley Democratic Socials of America. “One [demand] is an end to the statewide ban on local rent control. That stops local based properties from being able to challenge rent directly,” said Yuan “There are no shortcuts when it comes to this. The solution to increasing rents to unaffordable rents is through cap rents. There is a finite amount of money that you can make out of us, that’s it. We need to be able to live.”
A September meeting also brought concerns about the housing crisis to the Lansing City Council. Lansing resident Scott McConnell came before the Lansing City Council to address homelessness and rent in the area. “How would it make you feel to keep losing everything you own and have to find another location to stay,” said McConnell, “Does the saying come to mind, ‘Do on to others as you would have done on to you?.” Rent costs have increased over the past year, leaving many out of homes and struggling to make payments.