By: Emily Guiles
In a recent Muskegon City council meeting the subject for discussion was the purchase of new lots in the Downtown area that will be used to build new houses. These new houses will be built with middle class families in mind.
According to City Manager Frank Peterson the houses will sell for their construction costs, and the proceeds will go towards cultivating the next lot and build. The approximate cost of these houses will be up to 165,000 dollars. The average middle class in the Muskegon area make up to 50,000 dollars a year in complete income.
Vice Mayor Spataro had concerns about who was meant to live in these complexes, he wants the new houses to be friendly to all kinds of family dynamics. And Commissioner German wants there to be a fair housing agreement in order to make it affordable for the whole community.
In passing a disturbing fact was mentioned about the rates of gun related deaths in the Muskegon area. More people die in gun deaths than traffic accidents, on average there are 927 traffic fatalities a year between 2008- 2013, a period when an average of 1,121 people died a year from gun related injuries. Especially around the Flint and Detroit area.
11 people have been killed since July 31st, and suicides are an even larger cause of gun deaths in most Michigan counties. The majority of gun deaths in Michigan are suicides. Between 2008- 2013 there were 6,729 gun deaths in Michigan, 3,647 of which were suicides, 54 percent of the total. Homicides where guns have been the weapon of choice have remained fairly stable, but the suicide rates are on the rise.
Suicide rates among middle aged Michigan residents sky rocketed 41.6 percent between 1999- 2010. Michigan’s increase was significantly greater than the national average, which was only 28 percent.
There is some speculation that the recession in 2007- 2009 and the weak hire rate afterwards has had something to do with these higher rates.