frequently-asked questions

How did this come about?

There has been talk of a millage to support affordable housing in Ann Arbor for many years. A millage to support affordable housing has been recommended as part of government sponsored reports on issues related to affordable housing and homelessness in both 2007 and 2015.
CM Nelson (W-4), CM Smith (W-5), and Mayor Taylor authored and co-sponsored the current millage that was first considered at the July 20th, 2020 City Council meeting. 

More background info

Why 20 years and Not a Shorter Millage?

A 20-year timeline allows for long-term planning and allows us to access certain funding streams such as Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that require a commitment of affordability and a demonstrated funding stream for at least 15-years. Second, building these projects takes time. While having money available will facilitate building housing, it will not remove certain barriers like federal grant timelines and local zoning and site plan approval processes. 

Learn more about LIHTC

Why do we need to budget for supportive services?

Supportive services are crucial for many families and individuals needing affordable housing, particularly those at or below 30% AMI. Support services help keep families housed, healthy, and safe. Supportive services can help residents navigate enrolling in programs like Medicaid, WIC, can help make sure that medical needs are being met, can help returning citizens find jobs, and young people leaving foster care navigate living independently.

Learn about supportive housing

 Don’t we already have money for supportive services?

Yes and no. The city has committed to contribute a portion of the 2017 County Public Safety and Mental Health millage rebate to affordable housing. However, those millage funds are already used to fund supportive services at existing affordable housing sites owned and managed by the Ann Arbor Housing Commission. The affordable housing millage, as proposed, intends to increase the number of affordable units in the city, and this will require an increase to supportive services funding.
The current millage protects these funding streams and allows for up to 20% of the new millage to be spent on supportive services over the lifetime of the millage.

Learn about supportive housing

Who will own and manage the affordable housing?

We predict this will depend on the particulars in each project and this is not a part of the current millage language. In 2019, the Ann Arbor Housing Commission, in partnership with other City staff and consultants, analyzed 12 City-owned sites identified by Ann Arbor City Council for potential affordable housing developments and made site by site recommendations which are rich with information about the different ways a site can be developed to yield affordable housing and the challenges in doing so. We expect some of the affordable housing projects funded with millage dollars would likely be developed by the Ann Arbor Housing Commission; others could be developed by another non-profit housing developer or a private developer.

PDF of the Feasibility Study (5/20)

is this the right time ?

Yes! While we took some local actions around temporarily halting evictions, some estimates project a 40% increase in homelessness nationwide due to job/income loss, unemployment, and anticipated evictions. This projected increase in homelessness will only worsen the existing affordable housing crisis in our community. If more people in our community had access to permanent affordable housing, they would be more secure during a time like this or any time in the future. Furthermore, local non-profit agencies that often help people in housing crises are already experiencing budget cuts as major donors face their own budget challenges. Lastly, our polling was conducted amidst the COVID pandemic and still showed strong community support for an affordable housing millage.

Study predicts 40% rise in homelessness

What about low-income homeowners?

Low-income homeowners concerned about property tax increases can already request a tax abatement from the City.

In June of 2020, Council asked city staff to look into the efficacy of the program and to identify ways to make sure those who need this support, apply. 



Tax exemption application

How much will this Add to my taxes?

For the typical homeowner, the cost would be less than $0.50/day. You can find the cost-per-year for your home by taxing the taxable value of your home and dividing by 1,000.

For example if the taxable value of your home is $123,400, this millage would add $123.40 to your taxes for the year or about $10/month.


Learn more about property taxes

Won’t the millage raise rents in Ann Arbor?

In an analysis of 10 rental properties across Ann Arbor, we found that the average millage amount per apartment unit was approximately $36 a year. However, renters would only pay a portion of this. One study estimated that tenants only paid $.15 for every $1 increase in the property tax.

This is an insignificant cost, especially when considering the benefit of allowing thousands of essential workers and lower income families to afford stable housing in our city.

See the research on property tax incidence

Still have Questions?

Contact us.