Case Study

Affordable Housing Policies Reimagined in Jackson, MI

Guidehouse helped the City of Jackson, MI leverage $31.4 million in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to reshape its affordable housing programs.

In March 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into law, which authorized the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program to deliver $350 billion in federal funding to state, territorial, local, and tribal governments across the U.S. in response to the coronavirus pandemic.



The City of Jackson, Michigan, received $31.4 million in SLFRF and was looking to allocate a portion of the funds to assist with producing or preserving affordable housing for the city. The city had been operating the same 2-3 repair programs for the past few decades and wanted to explore other options. The City of Jackson's Department of Community Development and the newly formed Affordable Housing Development Board (AHDB) contracted Guidehouse to develop an action-oriented housing needs assessment (HNA) to shape local policy and programs, and best utilize the city’s SLFRF.



Guidehouse collaborated with the AHDB to develop a framework that synthesized existing data; reports; and current city programs and efforts, and engaged stakeholders to determine the strengths, challenges, and gaps in the housing landscape across all income bands.


Our experts designed and conducted the HNA, and then developed a strategy framework that outlined potential housing solutions, which included:

Engaged Local Stakeholders — In conjunction with the City of Jackson, our experts interviewed over 50 individuals from 26 agencies and organizations. Stakeholders included community organizers, city officials, development professionals, investors, housing professionals, landlords, residents, and social service agencies. Themes, strengths, and challenges were identified from interviews and compiled in conjunction with data analysis.

Performed a Current State Analysis — Using quantitative analysis, background reports, and stakeholder research, Guidehouse identified and described housing trends. By building a thorough understanding of the city’s current state of housing, our experts built a framework to develop a future state that effectively addressed Jackson’s housing needs.

Forecasted Future Population Change — Our experts analyzed current and historical data related to key housing trends for the City of Jackson. To determine market and population growth or decline in the future, this information, along with other time series data, created a forecast of population trends over the next 10 years.

Developed Housing Targets — Using the current and historical trends, future trends, and themes identified in the earlier stages, Guidehouse established target numbers of housing units necessary to respond to demand over the next 10 years, broken out by income bands. These income bands are based on household income as a percentage of area median income and are categorized further by type.

Evaluated National Best Practices — Practices and potential approaches that have been successful in cities with similar characteristics to Jackson were identified and highlighted. The solutions identified match the need established through the analysis.

Designed Program Solutions to Address Housing Needs — The complete set of information gathered from previous stages of the engagement was leveraged to design short- and long-term recommendations. All recommended solutions align with identified gaps and key areas of focus for Jackson.



The City of Jackson and the AHDB have earmarked $3 million for housing programs and voted to implement two new affordable housing programs over the next few months. The two programs that the city will undertake include:

  • An expanded version of their existing homeowner rehabilitation program to include non-owner-occupied properties, which account for 45% of the households. 
  • A new housing construction program that couples city-owned land sold at affordable prices to developers with down-payment assistance and tax incentives for the homeowners. The city is planning to partner with a community organization that will provide homeowner and credit counseling, and maintain a list of qualified homebuyers. The city’s goal is to build 100 new units of affordable housing.

These programs combine many of the suggestions outlined in the housing strategy framework delivered to the client. Guidehouse is continuing to work with the City of Jackson to help them bring these programs to fruition.

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