An Act to Establish Affordable Housing to Aid in the Creation of a Walkable Downtown

1. Media Artifact

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

Our pamphlet discussing the importance of implementing affordable housing in the state of michigan

By Casey Sanders and Jordan Landsberg


2. Persona and POV statement


Our POV statement discussing our persona




Persona name: Jennifer Jones Age: 37 School/occupation: Works as the marketing director for MILLENNIUM PT and Rehab services, Physical Therapy Clinic in Flint, MI. Her job includes: marketing outpatient and home care services to local physician, nursing home, hospitals, AFC and assisted living facility. Location: Flint, Michigan    Quote: "How can I provide for my kids if my community doesn't provide me with a feasible housing option? How can anyone with a low paying job afford to stay here?"     About:
  • Annual household income is $53,046 ($4,420.5 per month)

  • Lives in a two bedroom apartment with her five year old son and infant daughter
  • Hourly wage: $25.00, annual salary: $53,046

  • Has a mom who lives nearby who sometimes watches the kids, as she cannot afford a nanny 5 days a week

  • Go back to school to receive a higher education so that she can get a higher paying job to support her children
  • Save money to buy a new car and to be able to buy her children everything they need without stress
  • Find a safe, suitable living option so her children have space to grow and be productive in life and with their education


POV Statement:
  • User (be specific and use empathetic language, e.g., Karla, a busy and high achieving high school student…):​
    • Jennifer Jones is a very stressed single mother, looking for an affordable place to live and take care of her two young children. Eventually, Jennifer wants to go back to school to get a degree in marketing so she can earn more money and provide her family with the three bedroom house she’s always dreamed of.
  • Need (identifies a need that is meaningful and includes feelings, e.g. …needs a way to feel less stress at school…):
    • ​Jennifer needs an affordable, spacious place to live as a single mother with a low income and young children. She also needs a community in which her children can have room to grow as individuals and experience a childhood.
  • Insight (incorporates your observations; often unexpected, …because there is a lot of chaos in her life and she wants to feel more calm, peace, and mindfulness in her day.):
    • ​Jennifer needs a place to live that she can afford, as the stress of a full-time job, being a single mother, and focusing on her higher education is piling up.


3. Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.

SOLUTION 1: The establishment of affordable housing will be funded by the government by the ways and means committee. The state of Michigan will receive additional funding from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

SOLUTION 2: Provide state-wide incentives for developers to create more affordable housing options.

  • Any developer who builds housing solely dedicated to affordable living will receive a tax abatement for 10 years

  • Any developer who builds affordable housing is allowed to build higher than regulation height.

  • Any developer who builds affordable housing may receive parking or design wavers, zoning variances, fee waivers, or expedited permitting.

SOLUTION 3: The state of Michigan mandate that at least five percent of units in an area be affordable to renters making fifty percent of the area median income. This policy would also ensure that a tenant is not paying too much of their income on rent.


Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

  • The issues underlying our proposal is a current nation-wide epidemic which we have learned about both inside the classroom as well as read about in local and regional newspapers.
  • In addition, one of our members is currently enrolled in a class that heavily talks about residential issues Michigan is currently facing and has had the research opportunities to see just hot necessary affordable housing is first hand. 

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

  • Both of us had the opportunity to work with Food Gatherers as our service activity. Although Food Gatherers does not deal first hand with residential housing, it does display the economic aid that many people all over Michigan need, especially when it comes to basic necessities like food and shelter. At Food Gatherers we have had the privilege of meeting people who work for the company and deliver and cook food for families and shelters, people who work at shelters and other homes who need to provide for those who are economically unstable, and the people who cannot afford daily necessities themselves—they have expressed the need for more places like food gatherers to provide food and daily objects as well as the needed aid from the state to provide more housing options with closer proximity to food gatherers/shelter locations. 

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

Our pamphlet discussing the importance of implementing affordable housing in the state of michigan


Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).

CONSULTATION 1: Our first consultant was a local real estate agent from our hometown of Long Island, New York, who works closely with rent-stabilized housing and affordable housing. With that being said, she expressed the importance and need for more communities to implement affordable housing, illustrating that communities across the country are facing low-income housing shortages, and that there is not a single county in the United States that can fill 100% of its low-income population's need for safe, affordable housing. In addition, there are currently 46 million people live in poverty in the United States who could be greatly affected by the mass implementation of affordable housing. She also discussed the steps that some local governments are taking to incentivise the building of affordable housing units (as mentioned in our proposal), and sent us great example articles that we could reference as well.

CONSULTATION 2: Our second consultation is a prominent figure who is studying the current issues regarding housing within Michigan who is hosting Housing Fair Housing Breakfast that is occuring this upcoming Thursday. 

CONSULTATION 3: Our third consultation is scheduled to happen in the upcoming week, but will be a meeting with a University teacher from the Social Studies department who teaches a course on wealth and poverty that is focused on housing issues/inequalities that there currently are throughout the state of Michigan.

Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.

We were very pleased with our work after meeting with topic coordinator, Michael, who applauded our efforts greatly. He said that we were well ahead of the game and going in the direction that we needed to be. He made note that we were extremely informed in our topic area and that our future consultants were going to be good ones that would help us learn the most about our topic and the relevance of our issue. However, he mentioned that the only thing we are potentially doing “wrong” is trying to get too far ahead. He urged us to follow the process and be patient about doing so because it is what will get us to our most successful end result. Since then we have worked on slowing down and focusing more on the work we already have done instead of trying to get more done. We are trying to refine our notes and make sure our proposal is as feasible and realistic as possible.

Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.

We took many different approaches when it came to our research process. It started out as basic research regarding the current status of housing in Michigan. After much research we found that there are various communities that are either facing an economic downturn and is plagued with foreclosed properties and a declining population, or communities that are in a current revitalization period looking to grow economically, residentially, and educationally. Yes, we know that this is a large skew, however, we came to the conclusion that both of these community characteristics could benefit heavily from affordable housing. Using current classes at the university, google searches and finding scholarly articles as well as asking our consultations about this issue helped us get a great grasp for what the problems were and the extreme need that not only the state of Michigan has for the implementation of affordable housing and a revived economy, but all over our nation as well. Although we have only had one official consultation so far, the two that we have set up for the future are going to beneficial in putting the final touches on our proposal, as we know exactly what we are looking for and we are going to ask questions that gear us towards receiving our final answers.

Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?

Both of us have contributed to this project almost completely evenly, however Casey definitely has a bit more background on the topic as she has taken many classes in this subject area. She has been extremely patient and more than willing to discuss any controvesial or confusing ideas, and we have truly learned so much about this topic together. 

We have met multiple times to work on this project together. When it comes to research we always make sure to do it in each others presence to make sure that we are both as informed on all of the data we are using. We think this is important to grasp the overall need to a proposal like ours within the state of Michigan. We also brainstorm ideas together and write them down on scratch paper everytime we meet. We discuss possible problems and counter arguments to ensure that we are creating the strongest proposal possible. When it comes to uploading the information to this document we aren't usually specific with who posts what because we always do the work together. So whoever is posting is usually the one who gets to it first or who has less work to do that given day, it is not an indicator of who puts in more time and effort into this project.


The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

WHEREAS.... communities have lacked in the creation of affordable housing.

WHEREAS....affordable housing will bring young entrepreneurs into suburban neighborhoods and increase the growth and expansion of business within the community.

WHEREAS....affordable housing will help the average American to maintain a decent quality of life.

WHEREAS.... a walkable neighborhood has enough people for business to flourish and includes affordable housing near those businesses.

WHEREAS....the buildings will support the creation of walkable neighborhoods because they will be close to the street, public spaces and areas, and include parking lots in rear and or underground locations.

WHEREAS....there are over 19 million households that use over half of their annual income to pay for their current housing; whereas the addition of affordable housing will help them substantially with money, as well as helping small businesses flourish within the community as well.

WHEREAS....affordable housing is created for the people to be able to come into a neighborhood and have the same amenities as other places with the needed economic relief; at an affordable price based on their yearly income.

(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).


1. Affordable housing will bring people into a community who have money to spend on food and entertainment. This will serve to support the growth and development of walkable downtown neighborhoods. People are putting their recreational expenditures back into the local community.


2. Affordable housing will allow people to move into neighborhoods and have the same amenities as other more economically stable places with the needed economic relief; at an affordable price based on their yearly income.


3. A walkable downtown will also provide more jobs to local residents that can help them with their economic isecurities, which can aid in the development of more affordable housing and people putting a roof over their head.


(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)


What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1. How can you be sure that you can receive money from the Federal Government?

2. Don't you think that the state of Michigan would provide more funding for such efforts by now if they had the means and ability to do so?

3. What is to say that affordable housing has to go hand-in-hand with a walkable downtown?

Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  



These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.


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