<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1018706268302959&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Knowledge • News • Insights
In Partnership With

Housing Kent Hosts Housing Stability Alliance Meeting to Address Eviction System Crisis

Michigan Business Network
July 14, 2023 3:00 PM


Collaborating Kent County Stakeholders Unite to Redesign the Eviction System and Foster Universal Housing Stability

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., June 2023  Housing Kent, a leading organization dedicated to promoting housing stability, recently held its quarterly convening of the Housing Stability Alliance (HSA). The focus of the meeting centered around the pressing issue of the eviction system in Kent County. Attendees from various sectors, including landlords, tenants, municipal and county leaders, housing advocates, service providers, developers, and funders, gathered to discuss the need for redesigning the current eviction system.

“Prior to the HSA, I saw eviction as a relationship between a tenant, landlord, and the courts,” said Tony Baker, Kent County Commissioner, District 17. “I am concerned about the reluctance of some landlords to accept housing vouchers. However, overall I now see that evictions are also the result of multiple systems that need to work with a tenant and their family. An inability to pay rent is connected to many other systems and life experiences of the tenant. Employment, child care, automotive repairs, mental health, and other factors influence the final outcome of eviction. Eviction then exacerbates these barriers. With this in mind, a community-wide response must include strong system support.”

According to data from the Michigan Supreme Court, the number of new eviction case filings in Kent County has shown an increase in recent years. The 2020 eviction moratorium issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and accompanying federal aid from the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program temporarily stemmed the tide of eviction filings when thousands of Kent County households experienced job and wage losses during the pandemic. With the loss of CERA in October of 2022, fewer resources are available to help residents weather hardships and remain in housing. In 2022 alone, there were approximately 11,000 new eviction case filings, reflecting a significant surge compared to the 5,700 filings in 2020. That’s about one eviction filing for every seven renters in Kent County. This crisis led the HSA to focus intensively on eviction prevention at their latest convening. 

"We firmly believe that evictions exact a significant toll, not only on tenants but also on landlords and the entire community,” stated Housing Kent President, Eureka People. “When individuals have stable housing, they can redirect their time and energy towards other aspects of their lives, alleviating the constant burden of worrying about how to meet basic needs like food and rent. It is evident from the filing data that our eviction system must undergo a transformation, as it disproportionately impacts lower-income communities and communities of color in our county."

During the HSA meeting, a beta version of an eviction prevention system was unveiled for feedback and suggestions. The framework took into account several topics including: 

  • Ease of accessibility to apply for rental assistance

  • Early intervention to prevent an eviction

  • Case management

Attendees were encouraged to share what their organizations would require to fully support the system and engage more rural communities in Kent County. The input received will play a crucial role in refining the system and ensuring its effectiveness in preventing evictions and supporting housing stability.

“The heightened focus on eviction prevention is critically important. As a community, we have coordinated services for those experiencing homelessness, but we need to keep families and individuals who are at risk of losing housing stable and in place,” said President & CEO of Heart of West Michigan United Way, Michelle Van Dyke. “As we saw with COVID Emergency Rental Assistance, the impact on these families is imminent and severe. With all stakeholders represented at the table, we will make progress in stopping the slide into homelessness.”

The meeting emphasized the urgency to reform the eviction system, with a particular focus on preventing homelessness and ensuring housing stability for vulnerable populations. Analyzing the filing data, it became evident that lower-income communities and black and brown communities in Kent County were disproportionately affected by evictions. Members of the HSA are actively engaged in ongoing efforts to redesign the eviction system. An Eviction Prevention Task Force will use the feedback gathered at the HSA to further refine its plan, which will be unveiled later this summer.


About Housing Kent
Housing Kent is a 501 (c)3 organization that supports the work of the Housing Stability Alliance, which is a network of 130 individuals and public and private organizations, working toward a housing system that works for all residents of Kent County. Housing Kent elevates, aligns, and coordinates multi-sector strategies to ensure that quality affordable housing can be a reality for all individuals, across all income levels. Housing Kent’s mission is to increase access to affordable housing, dissolve homelessness, and eliminate racial disparities in the Kent County housing system. To learn more about Housing Kent and their impact on housing instability, check out their website here: https://housingkent.org/

  • HousingKentFullLogo_Black
  • download - 2022-02-11T115206.746
  • 313925565_119128160984107_8608275062076161236_n

Michigan Business Network is an online broadcasting company that provides knowledge, news, and insights into Michigan’s businesses, industries, and economy.