Old motels, campsites and shelters fill housing void in northwest Michigan

By Anna Clark: For More Info, Go Here…

Fire cut out the heart of the Four Seasons Motor Lodge in the middle of a summer afternoon. It burned through the pitched black roof and scorched the painted shutters meant to evoke an Alpine spirit for visiting skiers. A mountain of dark smoke dwarfed the treeline.

No one was hurt. But the old inn on US-131, just south of Boyne Falls, was destroyed, displacing 20 or so people. Not tourists—they were residents.

Northwest Michigan is in a desperate housing crunch. It might seem counterintuitive for a region of abundant beauty, where property values and buyer interest are ever escalating. But there are simply not enough places for seasonal employees or even those in mid-salary jobs, such as teachers, city workers or emergency personnel, to live.

A number of intersecting forces stunt the region’s ability to develop new and more diverse housing. Local leaders are pushing for structural changes across the 10 counties, but residents need a place to live today.

That means campgrounds. Shelters. Couch-surfing. Or, for Dustin Mellios, tenancy in an old roadside motel.

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