Albion’s leadership has a critical role to play as the city continues to navigate a variety of challenges related to social, economic, and political crises.
In order to build an effective, long-term vision, leaders must both reflect an understanding of the city’s needs and maintain diverse connections within Albion’s networks of resources. Although tough decisions lie ahead, considering the needs and aspirations of Albion’s current residents must be the priority for how leadership responds to global shifts and continued constraints.
Linda’s priorities as a candidate are based on the City of Albion’s 2017 Comprehensive Plan, Albion Economic Development Corporation’s 2017 Economic Development Strategy, and each priority has been recently identified as part of the current city council’s goals. These are:
1) Housing Rehabilitation and diversification of available housing options,
2) Increased Employment opportunities, and
3) Access to Healthy Food.
Linda also continually hears concerns about these issues from residents, which is why they form her platform as a council candidate.
Housing across Michigan and the entire Midwest is in dire need of skilled laborers to repair and renovate aged housing stock, plus build new homes, apartments, condos, and more flexible living options for people at every stage of life.
The following goals for housing are based on Linda’s work with the City of Albion and her awareness of programs within the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, the USDA Rural Development of Michigan, and Albion’s local bank’s services:
• Creating accessible housing for people at every stage of life
• Making more affordable options for first-time homebuyers and those at Albion’s Area Median Income (AMI), which is approximately $28K/year according to a MSHDA representative in 2019.
• Raising awareness of the USDA Rural Development grants and low-interest loans for people who want to improve their homes to increase their family’s safety and overall quality of life for Albion families.
• Establishing, building, and repairing creditworthiness for resident’s financial empowerment and ability to access wealth-generating opportunities, such as becoming a homeowner.
Prior to the massive layoffs and job displacement that COVID-19 spurred, Albion struggled to address the widespread need for meaningful employment opportunities. Yet layers of complexity also created a situation where local employers were continually looking for new employees. Now with the added complication of recovering from the chaos of a pandemic, creative leadership is going to be more important than ever.
In 2019, Linda spent many hours interviewing, researching, and listening to residents, employers, and representatives of organizations that serve Albion’s eligible workforce. The following directives are based on the years of experience of those who shared their insight with Linda:
- Use local resources to increase resident’s employability related to re-entering the workforce. Whether residents are re-entering the workforce later in life, after having children, or after being involved in the criminal justice system, there are elements of returning to employment that require additional support. Local experts believe a program that addresses this specific group of people would make an impact in addressing Albion’s resident’s need for employment.
- Employ trainers who are connected to Albion to help budding entrepreneurs “lock it in” and secure successful business brands. Residents of Albion are known for starting their own businesses, yet many never reach the extent they could for a variety of reasons. Linda knows trainers specialized in walking entrepreneurs through the process of securing their business brands so that more people can prosper and more innovation can spread amongst the entire community.
- Bridge employers and resource hubs to local people and key influencers, which can address both the need for employees and the need for employment. With sincere appreciation for the many efforts already underway to connect people to resources in Albion, it is clear that many of Albion’s residents are not receiving what is available here. Linda will continue to build on Albion’s communication channels within groups to inspire more sharing of vital resources to those most impacted by the region’s economic despair.
Healthy Food Access
Council members and community leaders have identified the need to expand Albion’s only grocery store’s provisions or otherwise increase resident’s options for healthy, affordable food. Because Family Fare, the city’s only grocery store, is located within the 5th Precinct, Linda has included this as a top priority for her candidacy.
• Family Fare is within the 5th Precinct, leaving much of the remaining portions of the community to live within what is known as a “food desert.”
A food desert is a place “without access to fresh, healthy, affordable food, and more than 20% of the neighborhood lives below the federal poverty line” (MSU Extension).
Additionally, “those living in food deserts are more likely to develop one or more diet-related chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, kidney failure, obesity, and cardiovascular disease” (Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group).
• According to data from the USDA, the entire city of Albion is designated as either low-income or low food access. Linda plans to build upon the hard work that is underway to ensure all of Albion’s residents have easy access to a variety of healthy food options at affordable prices. This can happen by working with the current elected officials and community leaders who have worked together on this initiative in 2019, along with the Albion Economic Development Corporation, Albion Community Gardens Inc., Albion Health Care Alliance, Albion Ministerial Alliance, and other community organizations.
By being resourceful and attentive, a solid effort will lead to creating what residents desire and need for healthy living and sustainable wellness.
In all of my efforts, I will prioritize the resident’s voices as a vital part of the decision making process. I know that achievement cannot be sustained without intentional public relations that are built upon open, shared communication.Linda LaNoue, Candidate for Albion, MI 5th Precinct City Council
Eager to learn more about the City of Albion and how it operates? Linda recommends checking out the following planning documents. She’s happy to discuss her views regarding what is included in each plan.
This page has been Authorized by Linda LaNoue.
Paid for by Linda LaNoue for Albion 5th Precinct, P. O. Box 851, Albion, MI 49224