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Whitmer announces updated low-income housing, energy goals

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(The Center Square) – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced broad goals for affordable Michigan housing yesterday.

At the Mackinac Policy Conference held annually by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, the governor pushed an increased housing construction goal and low-income household energy financing.

“By raising our statewide housing goal to 115,000 units, we will build more housing to drive down costs and ensure every Michigander has a safe, affordable place to call home,” Whitmer said. “Thanks to our partners in the Biden-Harris administration, we have federal resources headed our way to lower energy costs for Michigan families by helping them upgrade to more energy efficient home appliances and install solar panels on their homes or in their community to save them money on their utilities.”

Whitmer raised the Michigan five-year housing goal by 53%, after a Michigan State Housing Development Authority study found the former goal to be ahead of schedule. Originally, at the 2021 policy conference, the governor set a goal to build or renovate 75,000 homes by September 2026. Three years later, the state is ahead of schedule with about 50,000 new or renovated homes.

The governor also announced a $367 million grant through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Rebate program, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Solar for All program. The funds are expected cut utility costs for 28,000 low-income households and help install solar panels on 18,000 homes.

Additionally, the money will be used toward reducing the cost of energy-efficient appliances for 10,000 households. All programs will be administered at the state level by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

The Home Energy Rebate program will provide $105.6 million toward lowering costs of energy efficiency upgrades, such as rerouting outlets and installing new electric systems. The partner program, Home Electrification and Appliance Rebates, will help finance new appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines. These programs will be available in the fall.

The Michigan Solar for All program is expected to reduce home energy bills for low-income households by 20% and provide resources for installing solar at a reduced cost. These programs will be available beginning in the summer of 2025.

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