LANSING, Mich. (WZMQ) – In Lansing today, protesters gathered at The Capitol to bring attention to the rising cost of living across the state, including here in The Upper Peninsula.
Hundreds of people from across the state gathered on the lawn of the capitol building in 90 temperatures to share their renting stories from all over Michigan. Kelsey Brianne is a community organizer with For Our Future Michigan, one of the non profits who helped organize the event.
“I had squirrels in my walls once, you know, horrific stories,” Brianne said. “I’ve heard of people who are rationing insulin to live in their homes.”
Protesters like Camille Duvernois, a student at Michigan State University who is originally from The Upper Peninsula.
“I expected, moving down here, a bigger city, more community support generally.” Duvernois said. “I just moved into my first apartment here and I’m spending about 60% of my monthly income on rent, and I have fairly cheap rent.”
‘Rent is too Damn High’ is a coalition formed by a nonprofit called For Our FutureMI. The coalition has 4 main goals, the first is to pass a renters bill of rights, a bill package already addressed in the state legislature.
The second is to allocate $4 billion in funding for social housing, and focus on housing first approaches to homelessness. Housing first and social housing approach housing as something that should be provided. The final goal is the removal of the state ban on rent control that was placed in 1988.
Protesters chanted to empty chambers, as the legislation did not convene for what should have been its first scheduled day back. Still, tennants from across the state shared their stories of facing homelessness, or dealing with unfair landlords.
“It’s kind of obscene, rent in Marquette used to be much lower.” Duvernois said. “Landlords can fluctuate rent as much as they want and the government isn’t investing in social housing to help people who are homeless, who are veterans, who are struggling to pay their rent. Rent is just increasing and increasing.”
Organizers say this is just the tip of the iceberg. To continue to fight for lower rent costs, For Our Future is working with state representatives to push for legislation they say would provide relief.
The group plans to continue to gather for the state Housing committee, which meets every Tuesday and Thursday, to continue pushing and protesting in person.
Average rent cost for one person in Marquette is $934, only $9 cheaper than the average in the capitol, but less than the statewide average of $1093 according to livingcost.org
To read more about the coalition or For our Future MI, you can visit their websites: