Detroit low-income developments helps to ease the housing shortage in the city

By Dennis Archambault

Housing advocates in Detroit got some good news yesterday, as Mayor Duggan announced five new residential developments that will serve low- to moderate-income households ( An existing shortage of low-income housing, coupled with the pressures of gentrification in the Downtown/Midtown area and growing income disparity between wealthy and lower-income classes, has made housing in Detroit and other urban centers a crisis. That’s become extremely acute in the low-income senior housing category. A “silver tsunami” is flooding the market with people of retirement age – many of them without stable housing. The Senior Housing Preservation – Detroit coalition, of which Authority Health is a member, has been effective in working with the City of Detroit to prevent any conversions of existing senior apartments downtown, but there have been few options in new or renovated older buildings.

Of the five developments in Detroit, three will target the extremely low-income population, earning at or below 30 percent of the area median income, or around $16,400. That’s still high for many low- income people. Most of those who will benefit from the developments are those in the affordable range of around $44,000. One of the developments will be dedicated to senior housing. The developments benefit from existing state and federal incentives and include the conversion of existing apartment buildings. With many abandoned apartment buildings in Detroit – also known as “naturally occurring low income” structures – housing advocates believe that one of the solutions to the housing crisis is to develop those buildings, which will in turn help revitalize those communities.

All in all, this is a positive development for low-income housing – an essential determinant of health.

Dennis Archambault is vice president of Public Affairs for Authority Health.