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Local Housing Advocates Receive Housing Leadership Awards

NORTHWEST LOWER, MI – A long-time advocate for supportive housing has received the Northwest Michigan Housing Solutions Network 2016 Housing Leadership Award. Carol Moorman received the award October 25 at the second annual Northwest Michigan Housing Summit in Traverse City. Housing advocates from Boyne City, Cadillac, and Leelanau County were also recognized at the Summit.

The Housing Leadership Award highlights the contributions of individuals in Northwest Lower Michigan who have made positive, significant contributions to housing for all residents. The award is for individuals including elected or appointed officials, professional staff, or volunteers who have:

·         Made important contributions to the region’s housing choices;

·         Increased the understanding and awareness of housing needs;

·         Led efforts resulting in significant economic, social, and/or political impacts in the community that have encouraged housing choices for all.

Moorman was recognized for her contributions to supportive housing for the region’s homeless and those with special needs. As executive director for the Foundation for Mental Health, now Northwest Michigan Supportive Housing from 2002-2011, Moorman made significant contributions toward expanding the region’s supply of supportive housing, working to secure funding and develop housing for those with mental illness or other disabilities. NMSH owns, develops, and manages supportive housing for people with special needs, providing housing for over 80 formerly-homeless members of the community and their families. In 2011, Moorman took on the role of Housing Director at Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan.

She led efforts to develop supportive housing at Carson Square in Traverse City, which provides 36 supportive housing units, along with veteran’s housing at Patriot Place in Gaylord. Moorman was also active in the Grand Traverse Area Continuum of Care and the Northwest Michigan Housing Solutions Network, working to secure funding for homeless initiatives and drive outreach and education on housing issues. Moorman’s efforts have ensured that supportive housing is an important part of the housing mix and conversation in Northwest Michigan.

The Housing Solutions Network also presented Community Cornerstone Housing Leadership Awards to three local officials at the Summit for their work on community engagement in housing. The award honors community leaders that have worked to engage the community in addressing critical housing issues in a collaborative, proactive fashion. These leaders are ensuring that all stakeholders are at the table, that all voices are heard, and that all opportunities are considered. Recipients of the Community Cornerstone Award were:

·         Ty Wessell, Leelanau County Commissioner and member of the housing nonprofit Leelanau REACH, for his work to create a Leelanau County Housing Task Force. The Task Force brought together County and local officials, businesses, realtors, and other housing stakeholders to explore and discuss to Leelanau County’s housing challenges, and to identify potential roles for the County and other stakeholders.

·         Marcus Peccia, Cadillac City Manager, for bringing together City officials, business leaders, and other community stakeholders to explore housing issues as the City reviews housing proposals and other opportunities. Community dialogues around housing have identified priority housing needs and informed City housing initiatives and actions, including support for renovation of existing affordable housing.

·         Michael Cain, Boyne City City Manager, for coordinating the Boyne City Housing Summit, which brought together citizens, builders, City Commissioners, Planning Commissioners, and employers to discuss housing challenges and take steps toward solutions. The Boyne City Housing Summit was a first step towards meeting City Commission goals to address housing needs. 

The Housing Solutions Network seeks to aid in development of a diverse mix of regional housing choices with affordable options that fit in with the unique character of the countryside, neighborhoods, villages, and cities of our region.
We do this by:

  • Educating
  • Collaborating
  • Developing resources

Our informal network group is made up of representatives from nonprofit housing organizations, funders, lending institutions, real estate, local government, and other housing stakeholders from Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, and Wexford counties.   We work collaboratively to raise and leverage funding, provide educational resources, and build awareness of housing issues.

Networks Northwest always proves to be a valued resource for our local government planning efforts. No organization does a better job of convening partners, promoting collaboration, and reporting on the data than does Networks Northwest
- Ty Wessell, Leelanau County Commissioner