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Too many low income renters, too few homeowners could hurt Detroit

A neighborhood in Detroit
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio
A neighborhood in Detroit

Detroit has more renters than homeowners for the first time in 50 years, and according to a recent report, this could be a bad thing.

The Detroit Future City report from earlier this month notes that the high number of foreclosures and overall population loss contributed to this.

Anika Goss-Foster, the director of the DFC office, thinks the real issue is the high number of low-income renters.

“It creates all kinds of other multi-layered issues for families that prevents them from thriving and prevents neighborhoods from stabilizing in Detroit,” she said.

The latest available Census data estimates from 2016 say about 53% of Detroit households are renters.

Goss-Foster said the city's neighborhoods should ideally have homeowners and renters at different income levels.

“Having a mix of all of that is really what's good for a neighborhood,” she said.

The report says between 2000 and 2015, Detroit lost 27% of its population.

“Many of the city’s neighborhoods once were majority homeowners, but that sort of flipped in the past few years and now those neighborhoods are either majority renters or vacant,” she said.

Goss-Foster believes having quality landlords and various housing options will help the city improve. 

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