Authority Health Testimony On Inclusionary Housing Ordinance

Authority Health recently provided testimony regarding the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance.  The full statement is below.

Testimony Regarding the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance
June 22, 2017

The impact of housing on health is both obvious and easy to be overlooked. Likewise, the health impact of substandard housing quality and the poor environment in which the housing is situated is relevant, yet easily overlooked.

The loss of housing by those frail elderly seniors who were evicted from the Griswold apartment building to make way for The Albert, led Authority Health to join a coalition of like-minded advocates to form the Senior Housing Preservation – Detroit Coalition. The coalition advocates for preserving existing senior housing and the prospects of developing new housing. The coalition’s theme, “One Detroit for All,” is applicable to the ideal espoused by the inclusionary housing ordinance proposed by Council Member Mary Sheffield.

The Authority Health Population Health Council has passed a motion of support for the intent of the ordinance, pending a final draft of the ordinance.

Authority Health, as a member of the Housing Trust Fund Coalition, supports addressing those with the greatest economic need – households earning up to 50 percent of the average median income, with a priority for 70 percent of the funds to serve households at or below 30 percent of the average median income for a family of four. It’s relevant to note that many of these households would qualify for Healthy Michigan, the expanded Medicaid program, or would qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act – both, being at risk as Congress devises the nation’s new health legislation. This is also a population at risk for food insecurity, access to transportation, and other social determinants of health.

To further support the objectives of the Housing Trust Fund Coalition, we support the principle of requiring half of the units receiving housing trust fund awards for new construction and preservation be accessible to people with different abilities, and that long-term affordability be assured for at least 30 years.

We feel that there is a need to ensure community oversight through an advisory committee that is appointed by City Council.

There is a well-documented need for safe, healthy housing for low income people. The correlation between housing and health is also well-documented. We believe that in this current era of prosperity, Detroit can and should include its low-income population in the redevelopment of the Downtown/Midtown areas of Detroit, and support development of housing in outlying neighborhoods.