Kalamazoo County Housing Trust Fund
Housing trust funds are new models for funding critically needed affordable housing throughout the country. The specific model can vary from community to community, but a dedicated stream of revenue is essential for maintaining the trust fund in the long-term. Kalamazoo has many different models to choose from, but the lack of affordable housing for area residents will remain a major issue unless local leaders take on the problem. Throughout the paper, the contrasting state-wide, county-wide and city models, and contrasting non-profit, public, and private revenue sources are presented. The many types of revenue streams are also discussed throughout the paper. Additionally, the paper discusses a nation-wide model that hopes to provide resources and revenue to subsidize low-income housing throughout the country. The paper also explains why Kalamazoo should implement a housing trust fund to address the needs of low-income residents. Over the years, the cost of housing units have grown at a faster rate than income, creating a problem for the residents of Kalamazoo County. Census data provides evidence that not only is affordable housing a problem for the residents of the City of Kalamazoo, but it is a problem of other municipalities within the county as well. The Poverty Reduction Initiative Housing Trust Fund Task Force, made up of various county political and housing leaders, met monthly from late 2004 to early 2005 and recommended that local municipalities increase the real estate transfer fee and provide funding at the city and county level. Also, Kalamazoo should include the successful model of Burlington, VT and allow individual donors to provide funding as well. Since census data and local housing studies prove that poverty is not confined to the city of Kalamazoo but also the outlying areas, Kalamazoo should follow the model of 76 other counties throughout the country and create a countywide housing trust fund to address the needs of affordable housing in Kalamazoo County.