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Addressing ‘housing first’: City officials offer the will and a way…

December 10, 2018 | Comment

By Dennis Archambault

It doesn’t take a policy brief to anticipate what it means to have a dearth of housing for 10,000 people. The relocation of tenants at the Park Avenue House Apartments once again has brought the issue to the public eye. Preservation of low income housing has been something former housing director Arthur Jemeson was keenly aware. His successor, Donald Rencher, has demonstrated his concern on numerous occasions. The city has addressed its willingness to work with the Senior Housing Preservation Coalition on the specific concern of protecting existing housing for seniors, and rehabilitating existing empty buildings. But as today’s Detroit Free Press article points out, 

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2018/12/10/detroit-braces-affordable-housing-decline/2019528002/, you need gap financing to meet the profit expectations of housing developers. While some of the funding in the affordabled housing leveraging fund will be used to continue supporting the market rate housing boom, it needs to be channeled to projects that will reduce the 10,000 number so everyone who needs housing in Detroit has an affordable place to live – and not just affordability as defined by the current average median income figure (AMI), but for extremely low income people below 30 percent AMI. Housing is a critical social determinant that needs to be addressed.

Dennis Archambault is director of Public Affairs for Authority Health, and represents the organization on the Senior Housing Preservation – Detroit Coalition.

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