With the holidays underway, many Flint & Genesee expats have visited – or soon will be – the area to celebrate with their friends and family. For some, their hometown is an hour’s drive from where they now live. For others, it may be longer, involving a trip to the airport or train station.

No matter how far they travel or how long they visit, their presence raises an important question: how do you get them to stay for good?

Based on the latest census data, we know that Genesee County has fewer people than it did 10 years ago. So, as Flint & Genesee Group works on the vision of making the county one of Michigan’s top five communities by 2040, we remain focused on tackling our population decline by showcasing Flint & Genesee as a place great for living, working and playing – which it is.

Really, there are so many reasons to live at Flint & Genesee. Whether you prefer city living, lakefront living, or rural property, Flint & Genesee has something for everyone. We boast the largest park system in the county, a vibrant arts scene, top-notch colleges and universities, and countless small businesses.

Plus, it’s a great place to start and develop a successful career. We welcome a variety of employers in healthcare, manufacturing, and education, to name a few. And we’re less than an hour away from major employers in Detroit, Saginaw and Port Huron.

Whether you work locally, in a neighboring county, or remotely for an employer based elsewhere, the area offers an affordable home base. There’s the low cost of living – around 16% lower than the national average – and the affordable housing market that’s appealing to everyone.

Perhaps one of the region’s most appealing qualities is that you can tell a difference here. Residents are encouraged to get involved in the community. And whether you are a board member of a local nonprofit or prefer the hands-on activity of volunteer service, your contributions will have a lasting impact.

These are just a few of the points highlighted in our new ‘Home for the Vacation’ campaign, which aims to get Genesee County expats to think about returning home. As part of this initiative, we feature stories with natives of Genesee County who have already moved and have since returned. Unsurprisingly, a recurring theme came up in these interviews: the desire to be close to the family.

So, this holiday season, as you sit around a table exchanging gifts and keepsakes of old memories, you might encourage your loved ones to consider contacting the Flint & Genesee Group. If they fill out the form at flintandgenesee.org/vacances, a member of our team will get in touch with them to discuss their goals, interests and how returning to Flint & Genesee might be the right decision for them.

Together, maybe, we can help them bring Flint & Genesee home.

Tim Herman is the CEO of Flint & Genesee Group.