Posts Tagged ‘Grand Rapids’

More Updates on Michigan’s Affordable Housing Crisis

June 2, 2017 3 comments

Today is a beautiful day in downtown Grand Rapids. The photo below actually from yesterday. There is something about the sun that just puts me in a good mood.

A few days ago I did not have a sunny disposition. I was in court during a landlord/tenant docket. I’ll be honest – it was a depressing scene.  Many of the people in the courtroom were in a sad condition – one lady was visibly intoxicated.IMG_1570

Grand Rapids’ Housing Crisis

This morning I read an article on how the Rental Housing Market Leads to Homelessness in Grand Rapids

Clearly, Grand Rapids, and other parts of the State and Nation have an affordable housing crisis. I have previously offered my own perspective, both as a lawyer representing real estate developers/investors, and as Board Chairman at Mel Trotter Ministries.

A Community Problem – requires Community Collaboration

Recently Mel Trotter Ministries announced that it was partnering with 3:11 Youth Housing and the NAACP to provide housing for homeless males ages 18-24.

This effort could not have happened without collaboration between community stakeholders. It also couldn’t have happened without real estate owners willing to put “purpose above profit”.

There are other examples of social enterprises taking action to address affordable housing. One community partner is Pastor Jim Davis and his company “Purpose Properties

“The mission of Purpose Properties is to “raise enough money from local foundations and philanthropists to buy market-rate and affordable rental properties in the city.”

It will take all community stakeholders to do their part – businesses, churches, government, and non-profits.

The question we should all ask ourselves: Am I working to build a better community?
Legal Updates – Bills and Lawsuits.


A few months back I wrote about a Michigan House Bill introduced that would repeal Michigan’s prohibition on rent control. This Bill seemed to be a “gut response” to the affordable housing crisis that we are facing in Michigan and all across the United States.

Other local governments across the U.S. are exploring legislative avenues to address the housing crisis.

A few days ago, Representative Stephanie Chang introduced a few other Bills on Affordable Housing.

On May 31, 2017 House Bill 4686 was introduced that would allow local government  to “adopt an ordinance to limit the rent paid by senior citizens and individuals with a disability to 50% of their household incomes.”

Tie-barred to that Bill was House Bill 4687  which would prohibit local government from enacting, maintaining, or enforcing “an ordinance or resolution that would have the effect of  controlling the amount of rent charged for leasing private resident.”

Representative Chang also spoke on the issue of Affordable Housing at a Detroit Housing Summit a few days ago at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.


DOJ sues City of Jacksonville for refusing to allow development of permanent supportive housing for individuals with disabilities.

You can check out the press release from yesterday – Where Cities Can Get in Trouble with Fair Housing Laws

Yesterday, the Department of Justice issued a Press Release concerning an agreement it reached with the City of Jacksonville, Florida. Apparently, the DOJ sued the City concerning “allegations that the city violated the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act when it refused to all ow the development of permanent supportive housing for individuals with disabilities in its Springfield neighborhood.”

As part of the settlement, the City has agreed to “establish a $1.5 million grant to develop permanent supportive housing in the city for people with disabilities.”



Twitter: @JeshuaTLauka




Non-Profit provides Legal Advocacy to Homeless Victims of Crimes

September 30, 2014 Leave a comment

I just read this article about a non-profit legal advocacy group helping Homeless Victims of Crimes

I always find it exciting to hear about groups or individuals who are truly trying to identify an unmet need in society and then run full speed ahead to meet that need, particularly for the oppressed and vulnerable in society.

In Grand Rapids I think of Goodwill of Greater GR providing job placements to people in GR with employment barriers – I was doing a mock interview with an individual who was in Goodwill’s job placement program – at the time I conducted his mock interview he had just got out of serving 15 years in prison – talk about a guy with employment barriers!

I also think of Wedgewood Christian Service’s Manasseh Project caring for victims of sex trafficking here in West Michigan. and HQ (twitter feed – providing for runaway and homeless youth who fall through the crack.

I can’t help but mention Mel Trotter Ministries, providing for the hurting, homeless and drug addicted in Greater Grand Rapids.

The above article resonates with me as a lawyer – to care and advocate for the most vulnerable in our society. Like the article says, homeless and runaways are more likely to be victims of crimes, and also more likely not to report those crimes.

In Grand Rapids, like everywhere, there is always more work to be done for the vulnerable people in our community.




Categories: business Tags: , ,

How to Talk to Your Kids About Homelessness

September 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Great Blog Post by Mel Trotter Ministries


How to Talk to Your Kids About Homelessness.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,