Housing Plans & Programs
A Focus on Housing
The W.E. Upjohn Institute Kalamazoo County Housing Plan, published in July 2022, forecasts that Kalamazoo County will need an additional 7,750 dwelling units, spread across all cost categories, by 2030. The authors of the plan advised action when they concluded, “Local leaders will need to implement various strategies to enable and incentivize that increase in the supply of housing.”
On January 10, 2023, the City Council established seven priorities for the coming fiscal year. One of those seven priorities is to, “Faithfully follow strategies laid out in the Portage Attainable Housing plan adopted by City Council on December 20, 2022.” In support of this commitment, the City Administration continues to strengthen efforts to increase housing opportunities in Portage. The two examples below are just the beginning of the city’s focus on housing.
From Vacant Lots to Family Homes: A Collaboration with KNHS
Utilizing funding made available through the Kalamazoo County “Housing for All” Millage, the City of Portage is collaborating with Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services (KNHS) to develop homes on two city-owned parcels along Oakland Drive. KNHS has been helping low- and moderate-income households realize the dream of homeownership for decades through credit counseling, homebuyer education, and specialized loan products. Together with the Home Builders Association of Western Michigan, KNHS is building a three-bedroom walkout with an attached garage at 7905 Oakland Drive, and a two-bedroom with an attached garage at 5916 Oakland Drive. “These homes fit into the fabric of the neighborhood and will serve our hard-working families for decades,” said Mary Balkema, Kalamazoo County Housing Director.
The two new homes are nearing completion and will be sold within the next couple of months. In order to qualify, prospective homebuyers must earn 100% or lower of the Area Median Income (AMI) and participate in KNHS homebuyer education and mortgage coaching services. Area median incomes (AMI) are the midpoint of a specific area’s income distribution and are determined annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For the City of Portage, a household of four making 100% AMI would have a combined income between $91,700 and $99,099 per year.
A Field of Housing Opportunities: Portage Road/Lake Center Housing Development
A 14-acre vacant parcel of city-owned land at 9617 Portage Road offers the potential to create a new workforce housing neighborhood as part of a public, private, and non-profit collaboration. The City Council recently approved an agreement with AVB Inc. to develop approximately 60 single-family homes on the property just south of beautiful Lakeview Park. Current plans call for a mix of two- and three-bedroom homes with both ranch and two-story options.
On May 16, 2023, Kalamazoo County Commissioners voted to fund up to $3M of the project through the “Housing for All” Millage dollars. These funds, along with previously committed dollars from the City of Portage and Kalamazoo County American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocations, will help bring down the purchase price for potential homebuyers. To be eligible to purchase a home in the new development, prospective homebuyers must be within the 80-120% range of area median income, and they will need to participate in the same KNHS homebuyer education and credit counseling required for the homes on Oakland Drive. The City of Portage plans to put the parcel in a community land trust, which will allow the homes to be sold at affordable prices to middle-income homebuyers and ensure the same level of affordability through future sales.
The Department of Community Development strives to improve the housing stock and increase access to decent, affordable housing through assistance programs supported by the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other funding sources.
The CDBG Program provides Housing Assistance Programs to income-eligible homeowners:
- Housing rehabilitation loans and emergency repair grants
- Home buyer assistance programs within select Portage neighborhoods.
If you are interested in obtaining an application to participate in CDBG-funded Housing Assistance programs, please contact the Neighborhood and Housing Specialist Tina Perry at (269) 324-9280 or via email.
- For housing discrimination concerns, please contact the Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan. The City of Portage has a Non-Discrimination Ordinance and can also provide assistance via the Office of City Manager at (269) 329-4400.
- For tenant-landlord disputes, please contact West Michigan Legal Aid.
- For eviction diversion, please contact the Gryphon Place 2-1-1 service.
- For prevention of utility shut-offs and other financial assistance relating to housing, please contact the Gryphon Place 2-1-1 and/or the Portage Community Center.
- For assistance in obtaining affordable housing, please contact Housing Resources, Inc., or conduct a search using the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) Affordable Housing Locator.
Please contact the Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan with housing discrimination concerns. The City of Portage has a Non-Discrimination Ordinance and can also provide assistance via the Office of the City Manager at (269) 329-4400.
For tenant-landlord disputes, please contact West Michigan Legal Aid.
For eviction diversion, please contact the Gryphon Place 2-1-1 service.
Information regarding Community Quality standards relating to Property and housing maintenance.