Charlevoix residents can receive help for ADUs from Housing North

Michigan Housing Assistance Program

Housing North Launches Program to Increase Density in Charlevoix County, Michigan. Housing North, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing housing density in northern Michigan, recently announced a new program to provide assistance to Charlevoix County homeowners interested in developing accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on their properties. The funding for this program came from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation.

The program focuses specifically on guest houses and above-garage apartments and was designed to help homeowners understand their eligibility, economic benefits, zoning maps, design, financing, permitting, and construction. The organization created the Accessory Dwelling Unit Toolbox, which is a step-by-step guide that homeowners can use to navigate the process of developing an ADU.

Those who enroll in the program will have access to plans that comply with Michigan Building Codes for Charlevoix County, which will save them time and money in the design process. However, homeowners must agree to place a deed restriction on the ADU to ensure the unit is rented to year-round residents and not used as a short-term vacation rental.

The goal of the program is to increase density in the county in a way that blends into the community. ADUs are also faster to build than homes and apartment complexes, and while they don’t increase density as much as a multi-unit structure, they provide diverse housing options for year-round residents.

By being part of the accessory dwelling unit program, homeowners can contribute and help with the housing crisis by adding another residential unit or an accessory dwelling unit on their property. Homeowners can benefit from supplemental income and invest in their property. ADUs are also useful on agriculture properties for seasonal workforce to stay in and provide an option for people who wish to age in place.

Housing North will not provide financial support for homeowners, but it will help guide homeowners through the process of acquiring funds. The organization has also created a sample proforma to help owners estimate their pay-back period by breaking down the various costs and potential revenue that comes with ADUs.

In addition to assisting with financing, Housing North will help homeowners find builders, go through the local permitting process, and navigate legal requirements as a landlord to ensure protection for themselves, their property, and their tenants.

According to a press release, more than 15,600 housing units are needed to meet existing demand in northwest Michigan for homes under $200,000 and rental units costing less than $800 per month. Housing North is in the process of updating these numbers to reflect the post-pandemic need for housing.

This program was initially started by Steve Schnell, who was the Housing North director for Charlevoix County before he left the position in July. Although Housing North is still looking for a new county director, the organization decided to move forward with the program as the funding had already been secured. The program intends to expand to Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties as well.

Overall, the ADU program is an innovative solution to address the housing crisis in northern Michigan by increasing density in a way that benefits homeowners and the community. By providing homeowners with the necessary tools and resources, Housing North hopes to encourage more individuals to participate in creating diverse and affordable housing options.

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