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Detroit housing

City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced Tuesday the creation of the Detroit Housing for the Future Fund (DHFF), a public-private partnership that seeks to  bridge the funding gap between the cost of redevelopment and the income developers will receive from a particular project. 

"If you want to hold rent low enough that people of low income can afford it, but your housing costs to build are the same as every place else, you lose money," said Duggan. "Nobody is going to build apartment units where the cost of building it costs more than they get back in rent. They'd all go out of business."

Tom Rumble / Unsplash

On May 25, the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer set off protests across the country, as well as conversations about how racial discrimination and disenfranchisement are upheld by different sectors of American society. This summer, Stateside is conducting a series of conversations on what systemic racism looks like. This week we hear from a journalist, a landlord, and the director of a community center about how systemic racism affects housing, from property rental to the way neighborhoods are structured.

Ian Freimuth/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Today on Stateside, a conversation about how childcare collectives are being modeled to fill in where our institutions are falling behind. Also, a look at housing inequality through the lens of a landlord. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Update: 8:15 a.m. Friday, June 12: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is extending a ban on evictions through the rest of June for tenants and mobile home owners. The eviction ban was set to expire when Whitmer signed a new executive order expanding it until June 30.

Original post: Wednesday, June 10: A group of protesters caravanned through the streets of one Detroit neighborhood on Tuesday, demanding more relief for renters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The protesters called on Governor Gretchen Whitmer to extend the moratorium on evictions that's set to expire on Thursday. Whitmer has already extended it twice.

Detroit native Joan Bell talks about her experience with affordable housing at the Conner Creek Senior Apartments
MaKayla Ealy / Michigan Radio

Detroit mayor Mike Duggan announced a new program that aims to preserve affordable housing on Monday at Conner Creek Senior Apartments.

The city says the "Preservation Partnership" is meant to renovate apartment buildings that already have low rents and reduce the displacement of low-income families by keeping the rent low. The initiative is part of the city’s Multifamily Affordable Housing Strategy intended to preserve low-income housing in areas at risk of gentrification.

A home in Detroit.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit is suing three major real estate investors the city calls “slumlords,” accusing them of an “invest and neglect” business model that leaves homes in deplorable conditions, and puts the health and safety of tenants at risk.

The city identifies the “notorious speculators and slumlords” as West Bloomfield father-and-son team of Steve and Stephen Hagerman; Michael Kelly of Grosse Pointe Woods; and Salameh Jaser of Dearborn. Together, the city says the men own more than 1,000 blighted properties throughout the city, and have amassed thousands of tickets from city building inspectors. They purchased many of their properties through Wayne County’s annual tax foreclosure auction.

deer
mwanner_wc / creative commons

Today on Stateside, new draft regulations for PFAS in drinking water take a step closer to becoming a reality. Plus, Detroit struggles to get landlords to comply with rules that protect renters.

blighted home in Detroit
Bridge Magazine

Wayne County will foreclose on fewer Detroit homes this year for the fourth straight year, according to numbers the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office provided on Friday.

Wayne County has 3,023 residential Detroit properties on its tax foreclosure list right now. 1,083 of them are believed to be occupied homes.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

11 years after the start of the recession and housing crash, the ripple effects are still felt acutely across Detroit and Wayne County, members of a U.S. House subcommittee heard at a field hearing in Detroit on Friday.

The issues are complex, but the numbers are stark: since the housing crisis began in 2009, Detroit has flipped from a majority-homeowner to a majority-renter city. That’s due in large part to the wave of mortgage and property tax foreclosures that swept the city in the following years.

Brittany Smith grew up mostly in Detroit, earning a master's degree in public health from the University of Michigan. But when she and her then-boyfriend, Sam, began their careers, they ran into roadblocks. It was 2013, and Detroit was still struggling from the effects of the Great Recession. Sam Smith couldn't find full-time work. His job as a college career counselor wrapped when the campus where he worked shut down.

They began looking for an out.

person with head in hands looking at eviction notice
Nito / Adobe Stock

Tenants who try to fight an eviction can quickly get caught up in bewildering legal issues. According to recent reporting from The Detroit News's Christine MacDonald, only 4.4% of renters show up in court with a lawyer. That’s compared to the 83% of landlords who have legal representation in eviction cases.

That has some housing advocates calling on the city of Detroit to provide attorneys to renters who have been evicted.

A house for sale on the Detroit Land Bank's online auction site.
Detroit Land Bank Authority

Researchers say more immigrant homeowners could help stabilize neighborhoods in Detroit.

That's according to a study released Wednesday by the economic development initiative Global Detroit.

For Rent sign
Kurt Bauschardt / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Most Detroit landlords will no longer be able do to criminal background checks on potential tenants until they’ve otherwise completed the rental application process.

City officials say the new Fair Chance Ordinance will help ex-offenders stay on the right path by offering them a better shot at secure housing when they return home. They say it’s needed in a city where about 1,000 people return from prison each year.

whitewall buick / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Rent has increased more in Detroit as a percentage of household income than in any other large U.S. city in the last few years, according to a report by the financial tech company SmartAsset.

The report looked at fair market rent across the U.S. between 2014 and 2017.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit expanded a program this year that gives some people a last-minute chance to avoid tax foreclosure, but its reach could be limited by time and money.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s homeless population is trending downward for the third year in a row—in part, officials say, because of an emphasis on finding people homes.

Detroit’s annual “point in time count” of people living on the street or in shelters tallied up 1,769 people when it was conducted on January 31st of this year. That’s a 15% drop from 2017.

Peeling lead paint.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Starting this summer, Detroit will try a to combat its problem with childhood lead poisoning by heading to what’s usually the source: the homes where children live.

A neighborhood in Detroit
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s plan to get all city rental properties up to code launches at the start of next month.

Landlords in certain parts of the city will have 90 days to register their properties, and another 90 days to comply with a city ordinance.

Detroit updated and strengthened its rental ordinance last year, after letting it largely go unenforced for years.

A foreclosure sign.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An effort to help some Wayne County residents from losing their homes to tax foreclosure seems to have stalled. Until the last minute, low-income property owners were being encouraged to apply for tax exemptions, with the hope of preventing their homes from being sold at Wayne County’s annual auction of tax-foreclosed properties.

Detroit City assessor Alvin Horhn’s office promoted the idea that some low-income homeowners might be able to avoid tax foreclosure this year if they hurried to apply for a tax exemption.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

A Detroit City Council committee heard some passionate pleas for tighter rules on city landlords and their rental properties Monday.

Renters’ advocates and neighborhood groups said it’s past time to tighten up the city’s rental property, ordinance especially now that Detroit has moved from a majority-homeowner to a majority-renter city.

The proposed new rules would amend an existing city ordinance, which city leaders admit has not been well enforced in recent years.

gavel
Blogtrepreneur / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled against plaintiffs in a discrimination lawsuit against Wayne County over tax foreclosures.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of a group of Detroit homeowners. It alleges that cities in Wayne County failed to perform required property tax assessments for years, over-assessing homes and forcing homeowners into tax foreclosure. The plaintiffs argue that these actions violated the Fair Housing Act because they disproportionately affected African-American homeowners. 

foreclosure sign
BasicGov / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The tax foreclosure crisis in Detroit may not get the attention it deserves. In fact, the tax foreclosure crisis didn’t just happen, and it doesn't continue to happen, by unfortunate circumstances. There are decisions behind it. One group says those decisions are illegal.

Courtesy of Michele Oberholtzer

The Next Idea

“Detroit's greatest paradox is its abundance of space and its scarcity of quality housing.”

That’s the opening salvo in writer Michele Oberholtzer’s opinion piece for Model D.

At one time, Detroit’s population was almost double what it is now. As people left, so did quality housing. That puts people still in the city at risk, Oberholtzer said.

“The housing is often under code, or not up to par,” she said. “And the moment that a person leaves the home that they live in, that property is subject to scrapping and blight.”

The city of Detroit’s struggles with recession and bankruptcy have left the local housing market in shambles. For those in and around the Motor City who are renting and want to take the next step and buy a home, there are a number of obstacles in their way. Even if an individual has good credit and a reliable job, many banks are reluctant to lend money in what is viewed as an unstable market.

The Detroit Home Mortgage Initiative aims to change that.

Detroit Land Bank Authority

Detroit leaders hope to solve a real estate riddle with some help from banks and non-profits.

The Detroit Home Mortgage program is designed to counter stubbornly low property values in the city.

Those low values mean low assessments — which prevents many otherwise-qualified homebuyers from getting traditional mortgages that cover the full sale price of the home, or include the cost of needed renovations.

Homeless
SamPac / creative commons

By official economic measures, this country has emerged from the Great Recession.

But recovery is not being felt in many neighborhoods in large and mid-sized cities.

Since 2000, the number of people living in high-poverty ghettos, barrios, and slums has nearly doubled from 7.2 million to nearly 14 million people.

That's the highest number of Americans living in high-poverty neighborhoods ever recorded. 

Shipping container housing project underway in Detroit

Apr 17, 2015
Astrid Westvang / Creative Commons

A project that turns empty shipping containers into sustainable housing kicked off in Detroit this week.

Development firm Three Squared is using nine containers to construct a three story unit in the city's Corktown neighborhood. 

It's about to get easier to buy a home in Detroit

Apr 16, 2015
House Hands
thinkpanama / Creative Commons

A zero-down mortgage without closing costs, fees or a credit check probably sounds too good to be true, but it's about to become a reality for some Detroit home buyers.

Mayor Mike Duggan Thursday announced a new mortgage program to make it easier to finance a home in the city.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

DETROIT – The federal government has ended 10 years of management of Detroit's public housing system and restored it to local control.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says in a statement Tuesday that the change is effective March 16. U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro says the update "represents an important milestone in Detroit's road to recovery."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week in Michigan politics, Jack and Emily discuss anguish over Flint’s water, a plan for some Detroiters to pay half price on auctioned homes and a new gun bill moving ahead in Lansing.


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