While the state of the “housing crisis” is troubled and unclear, one thing is for sure: Grand Rapids’ community isn’t lacking the potential for innovative solutions.

Affordable housing has been on the minds of many Grand Rapidians lately, from the hundreds waiting for housing assistance from Salvation Army’s Housing Assistance Program, to the City Council’s work on the Housing Advisory Committee’s Housing NOW! recommendations. While the housing market’s rebound from the recession has been a boon for many property owners and businesses, stagnant wages among the lower classes have brought the issue of affordability to a head.

As we outlined in January, although Grand Rapids residents’ earning power has increased in proportion to housing values over the last ten years, these income increases have been enjoyed almost exclusively by the upper and upper middle class. This, combined with historically low inventories on a national scale, has led to housing insecurity among our community’s most vulnerable populations, and to widespread concern over gentrification.

“We know gentrification is real and it’s happening everywhere. So what does it look like for us? What are we going to do about it? How can we get involved? It’s really about the people’s role,” Heartside resident and business owner Synia Jordan told WZZM 13 in February.