Site Search

Draft Agenda for 2018 Summit


9:00 AM

9:05 AM
State of the Region's Housing
Local initiatives, Target Market Analysis update, and Housing Partnership progress

9:15 AM
Housing Partnership
The Housing Partnership concept is driven by a recognition that solutions must cut across community sectors to address the foundations of a community’s housing shortages - which typically lie in financing challenges, regulatory barriers, and. Updates from the newly-formed NWMRHP and Housing Next will discuss activities and plans for the organizations as they work to form coalitions, change the development process, and create new tools and resources for building homes.

  • Northwest Michigan Housing Partnership - Sarah Lucas, Networks Northwest and Tony Lentych, Traverse City Housing Commission
  • Alleghan/Ottawa County update - Ryan Kilpatrick, Housing Next

10:00 AM 

Making a Deal: How Housing Projects Came to Be
Housing projects require multiple layers of financing, public-private partnerships, the right development sites, infrastructure, public support, appropriate zoning...aligning these forces takes a strong commitment from many community partners, often over the long term. This session will explore two projects currently underway, and how volunteers and public-private partnerships were able to build support and break ground on complex projects, both large and small.

  • East Bay Flats - Tony Lentych, Traverse City Housing Commission
  • Homes at Willow Bend - Keaton Smith, Partners for Better Housing, Fayetteville, Arkansas

10:45 AM - BREAK


11:00 AM 

Make Development Easy and Fun with Zoning
Zoning is often the first barrier that must be overcome for new housing developments: in a changing housing market, the types of housing that are needed - like small homes, infill, and multi-family housing - often aren’t allowed by local regulations. Some communities are taking action by changing local policies to reflect the realities of today’s housing market. In Grand Rapids, a data-driven effort to update zoning has contributed to significant numbers of new development projects; while Charlevoix leaders are responding to housing needs by examining and implementing local policies .

  • Suzanne Shultz,Managing Director of Design and Development at City of Grand Rapids
  • Luther Kurtz, Mayor, City of Charlevoix
  • Jonathan Scheel, Zoning Administrator, City of Charlevoix



12:15 PM  

Community Cornerstone Awards

The Housing Cornerstone Awards highlight communities and organizations in Northwest Lower Michigan that have made positive, significant contributions to housing for all residents.

12:30 PM 

Lunch Keynote: Alissa Shelton, Training and Alumni Relations Director, Incremental Development Alliance

The Incremental Development Alliance is a not-for-profit alliance of practitioners who train small developers, helping citizens strengthen their own neighborhoods and helping city champions get the kind of development their community wants. Strong places are built at the speed of trust from the bottom up, and today's cities need systems to support that incremental development. It's messy, slow, and difficult work but this is how great places come to be. Incremental Development Alliance works with local stakeholders to build the capacity for locals to invest in their own neighborhoods, and to help institutions encourage that small scale development.


1:30 PM - BREAK


1:45 PM
Community Action Case Study: Leelanau County
Communities can organize around housing in a number of ways: by creating and managing nonprofits, providing local government support, and developing cross-sector initiatives. Speakers will discuss Leelanau County’s work on three fronts to address the County’s housing shortages.

  • Chris Frey, Leelanau REACH
  • Trudy Galla, Leelanau County Planning and Community Development and Land Bank Authority
  • Amanda Elliott, Leelanau County Housing Action Committee

2:45 PM 
Now Hiring - If Only There Were Housing: Employer Housing Panel

Employers and businesses in all industries are contending with labor shortages that are closely connected with housing shortages. Employers will share challenges they’ve experienced related to housing their workforce, along with steps they've taken toward solutions, and will discuss resources needed to support employee housing initiatives.


2:00 - 5:00 PM 
Deep Development Dive: Q&A with Developers and Summit Presenters
Local housing stakeholders are invited to participate in a “deeper dive” with the Incremental Development Alliance and Partners for Better Housing to discuss how development deals are put together, where capacity can be enhanced, and what development opportunities to look for in your local community. Bring your project ideas, development proposals, and community initiatives for input and perspective from development experts Alissa Shelton of the Incremental Development Alliance, Jennifer Acosta, a Bay City area developer, and Keaton Smith of Partners for Better Housing. Two-three small group discussions will be held parallel to plenary Summit presentations as time allows. To participate in these small group discussions, please contact

4:00 PM  
Housing Leader Roundtable
Representatives from local, community-driven housing initiatives are invited to participate in an informal roundtable to share updates and progress. Summit attendees are welcome to join the discussion.



$45 Early bird: Register by September 23

$55 Registration: September 24 - October 12

Register online*:

*The deadline to register is October 12


Northwest Michigan Works! is an essential resource for employers and job seekers in the Northern Michigan area.

Kathy Stuart, Michigan Rubber Products Human Resource Manager