Housing Shortage Remains Key Issue for Employers in Northern Michigan

The lack of affordable housing for workers, continues to be an issue for employers in Northern Michigan.

Many businesses around our area are hiring, but have trouble filling positions, in part because of the lack of housing.

Throughout Northern Michigan “now hiring” signs adorn store fronts and that’s been the case for quite a while.

Just ask the number one employer in Emmet County.

“It’s something we’ve been dealing with and trying to work our way through,” McLaren Northern Michigan Vice-President of Human Resources Derek Peters, said.

“The region is nice and kind of sells itself but job applicants might get turned off by the price of housing in the area and the fact that there isn’t much,” Peters, added.

McLaren Northern Michigan says they’ve had some applicants turn down jobs because of this.

“We’ve had positions that we’ve had applicants interested in and have had to say no because they are not able to find housing in the area,” Peters, explained.

With an ongoing expansion, they will have even more positions open in the future.

“We’re going to be looking for more [jobs], particular in areas like housekeeping because there is more space to cover through that,” Peters, added.

Throughout the area business leaders are looking for ways to solve the shortage.

“Definitely looking for ways to keep our community sustainable,” Boyne City Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ashley Cousens, said.

In Boyne City they’ve formed, Boyne Housing Solutions.

“What we are looking to do in the Boyne area is find housing options for everyone, so everyone can afford work here, live here, and keep our communities sustainable,” Cousens, explained.

Whether that’s exploring loopholes in ordinances or changing them all together, all are options they are looking at, they meet again Wednesday.

Though many think this issue is one Northern Michigan businesses will be dealing with for a while.

“I think it’s going to be a challenge for the foreseeable future,” Peters, added.