GR Housing Crisis

Need for more housing

A study by Bowen National Research (the Housing Needs Assessment) found that Kent County needs 22,000 units of housing in the next five years just to begin to relieve some pressure from the system. This includes 10,000 units for households making 0-80% of Area Median Income (AMI).

They note that even with this increase, tens of thousands of families will remain at risk of homelessness.


The unhoused population in Grand Rapids has been growing. And despite what some folks think, most people who are unhoused do not want to be and they work hard just like everyone else to earn money. It's just not enough.

Even from a purely fiscal standpoint, providing assistance to people who need it benefits everyone.

Housing prices in the Grand Rapids area have increased on average more than ten percent over the past twelve months; which has caused countless people to be displaced in our community.

Racism in housing

According to the Bowen study, people of color are highly overrepresented in the Kent County homeless system. In 2019, 64% of all people coming into the homeless system were black, despite only making up 12% of the population. Even more devastating, this study found that one out of every six black children in Kent County is unhoused.

History of Redlining

Grand Rapids, as all major cities in this country, has a history of discriminating against people of color with regards to housing. Banks kept track of demographics and determined loan eligibility based largely on race. A couple generations ago it was common knowledge that a person could not get a loan here north of Wealthy Street if they were black.