Affordable Housing, BATA Headquarters Coming to Garfield Township

More obtainable housing is on the way in Garfield Township. Garfield Township trustees last week gave the go-ahead to begin construction for housing in Garfield Township.

Cold00 00 04 09still001CEO for Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region, Wendy Irvin, says it’s a step in the right direction.

“The entire vision is definitely something that will allow our workforce community to thrive,” Irvin says.

Finding affordable housing for working families is a longtime issue in Grand Traverse County. Garfield Township Supervisor, Chuck Korn, says the decision for more housing was a, “no-brainer.”

“Everybody feels like we need more housing, particularly workforce housing. We have a lot of people who have unfilled positions within their businesses that they can’t hire people because they have no place to live,” Korn states.

The Township along with the Traverse City Housing Authority and the Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) agreed to begin construction at the corner of West Hammond and Lafranier Roads. The plan is to build a new BATA headquarters. Tucked behind it, they plan to have five buildings holding 210 apartments and 15 single-family houses from Habitat for Humanity. Korn says BATA and the Traverse City Housing Authority teamed up to bring this initiative to where it is.

“BATA is there by the grace of being associated with the housing,” Korn says.

Korn believes solving the housing problem is important. He says there’s a lot of people moving to the area. He says that although a lot of retired people come to live in Grand Traverse County, those retired people need services. The businesses that provide those services need employees and employees need an affordable place to live.

“A lot of people are moving here to retire, not necessarily to work. And those who are here to retire require services that puts a little more stress on the work force,” Korn explains.

Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region services Kalkaska, Leelanau and Grand Traverse County. 68 percent of their applicants are from Grand Traverse County. Habitat for Humanity CEO, Wendy Irvin says they are honored to be a small component of the big picture. 0035or07 33 27 22still001

The Township along with Habitat for Humanity believe the labor shortage and lack of affordable housing are related. Habitat for Humanity says the county is growing and they need space for it to grow.

“It is a desirable community and in order for people to thrive in the community and also work here and be able to afford to live here, we need to have all of the amenities. [We need to] help to accommodate young families with children,” Irvin says.

Irvin says the community has to come together to solve the housing problem.

“We have to come together to create these solutions so it’s not necessarily on the backs of a non-profit organization,” Irvin state. “Working together as a whole community, the business owners including our donor support can make this happen for the local community.”

Construction will likely take years. Habitat for Humanity doesn’t expect to begin building houses for, “two to three years.”