GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss delivered her 2020 State of the City address on Tuesday night.
The theme of her message centered around "home."
"I make this pledge to you, as mayor of our great city: Your home is where my heart is," she said. "And where our heart is, our focus is."
Mayor Bliss touched on many issues but focused on five main priorities: affordable housing, the 2020 census, climate change, affordable education, and neighborhood development.
"The strength of our neighborhoods is the strength of Grand Rapids, yet simple economics tell us that being a great place to live increases demand for housing, which can drive up prices," the mayor said.
In the last two years, 250 affordable housing units have been constructed in the city, with 800 either under construction or planned, all of which Mayor Bliss calls a "move in a positive direction."
At the same time, Kent County saw a rise in the number of people experiencing homelessness, totaling 10,538 in 2018. Nearly 3,500 were children.
The mayor also highlighted a new opportunity for high school students in the city: the Grand Rapids Promise Scholarship. It guarantees free admission to Grand Rapids Community College for the city's high school graduates.
"The Grand Rapids Promise Scholarship will address inequalities in education attainment within our city and expand economic opportunity for all," Bliss said. "It will help meet the growing need for talent in our strong economy. It is aligned with our belief that every student should have access to high quality education after graduation, no matter their circumstances."
Watch the State of the City address below.