LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently announced the appointment of Detroit resident Sergio Martinez to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) Statewide Housing Partnership.
Sergio is currently the general manager for La Feria in Detroit, a former Dreamer and a board member for Michigan United. He is an activist for issues included but not limited to immigrant rights, Latino leadership, small business engagement, and LGBTQ rights. He graduated from Woodhaven High School. Martinez is appointed to represent individuals with lived experience of housing instability, for a term commencing March 9, 2023 and expiring September 6, 2024.
The Statewide Housing Partnership is a program that provides safe, healthy, affordable, and attainable housing in designated communities. Global Detroit’s advocacy led to the formation of this partnership. A few years ago, Global Detroit pioneered a program that connected immigrants with vacant properties to rehab and occupy as new homes. The organization worked with Martinez to find and secure his home. His housing experienced and work with Global Detroit founder and executive director Steve Tobocman led to his appointment by the governor for this special advocacy role.
“I can’t think of a better appointment to the MSHDA Statewide Housing Plan board than Sergio Martinez, who knows what it is like to struggle to become a homeowner and the value and benefits of homeownership,” said Tobocman. “As a Dreamer, Sergio could not have qualified for a mortgage and his job as a day manager at a local restaurant hardly prepared him to buy a home with cash. Global Detroit was able to connect Sergio with a vacant home which he purchased and rehabbed himself.”
Over the past year, Global Detroit served on the counsel that helped draft Michigan’s first Statewide Housing Plan. The organization worked to ensure that the plan addressed the needs, as well as leveraged the opportunities that immigrant families face and present. Specifically, the plan calls for homeownership opportunities, training and resources to be offered in ways that reach bilingual communities and that the housing needs of refugees and migrant workers be included in the programs and policies moving forward.
Tobocman concluded, “given the fact that all of Michigan’s population growth has come through immigrant families moving to our state, it’s important that the state’s housing policy reflect the needs and voice of those communities. Sergio Martinez has the lived experience to be a true advocate for these outcomes.”
What is the Michigan State Housing Development Authority Statewide Housing Partnership
Last year, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2022-10 establishing the Statewide Housing Partnership as an advisory body within the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Members include leaders from state, local, and tribal governments, advocates from nonprofit and community organizations, and representatives from the business advocacy world and finance industry.
The partnership’s primary responsibility is to develop a strategy to implement the Michigan Statewide Housing Plan released in 2022 and make recommendations to MSHDA on how best to achieve its goals. The plan presented opportunities for organizations to partner on common objectives, including rehabilitating and stabilizing the housing supply, reducing equity gaps and homelessness, and increasing home energy efficiency and weatherization.
The new Statewide Housing Partnership will lead a coordinated, data-driven, outcome-oriented approach to housing, ensuring that all Michiganders have a safe, affordable place to call home. They will also establish regional consortiums to ensure statewide initiatives build on local efforts whenever possible, and they will keep Michiganders updated on their progress with public-facing communications. The Partnership will dissolve on September 6, 2024.
For more information about the Statewide Housing Plan go to https://www.michigan.gov/mshda/developers/statewide-housing-plan