Detroit Achieves $1 Billion Milestone in Affordable Housing Investments Over Five Years

Detroit reached a significant milestone, as Mayor Mike Duggan, alongside city council members and numerous development partners, announced that the city has invested over $1 billion in affordable housing over the past five years. This landmark achievement aims to ensure all Detroiters, regardless of income level, can find a home in any neighborhood they choose.

The initiative has resulted in 71 developments either built or underway since 2018, delivering 4,646 units of affordable housing. These are composed of 1,612 units in newly constructed or renovated buildings and 3,034 units in existing properties that have been updated. The city’s strategy focuses on maintaining affordable housing for at least 30 years, thus securing homes for thousands of lower-income households.

Mayor Duggan lauded this effort at a celebratory event attended by over 200 partners, saying, “Over the past five years, we have seen a community-wide commitment to affordable housing that is unprecedented in Detroit and, quite possibly, the country. It is the reason you do not see tent cities in Detroit like you do in other places. We still have a lot of work to do, but I cannot say enough about the team that has led this work from the department of housing & revitalization, our partners on City Council, our funders and, of course, our developers for the incredible work they continue to do.”

The mayor specifically thanked HRD Director Julie Schneider, her predecessors Donald Rencher and Arthur Jemison, and several city council members for their pivotal roles. “Council President Sheffield has been a consistent advocate and supporter of affordable housing development in Detroit since taking office in 2014. Members Latisha Johnson, Mary Waters, Angela Whitfield Calloway, and Gabriella Santiago Romero have been fully committed partners in the $203 million affordable housing plan we announced in July 2022, which gave the city the resources it needed to reach the $1 billion investment milestone,” Mayor Duggan added.

Council President Sheffield highlighted the community’s collective effort in her remarks: “I am extremely proud to stand with all of our developers, partners, and residents as we celebrate this milestone in affordable housing investments which highlights the efforts to ensure the growth in Detroit is inclusive and equitable. Through advocacy, shared values and a consensus around a vision for the future, together we have forged a pathway to housing stability and economic upward mobility which provides every resident the opportunity to thrive during this period of revitalization in Detroit.”

A new project spearheaded by Detroit developer Amin Irving is set to begin soon, adding 150 all-affordable units on a site between E. Jefferson and the Detroit River. The $45 million project will cater to residents earning from 30% to 60% of the area median income, with its modular construction approach aimed at reducing costs and construction time.

The city’s efforts are supported by various funding partners, including the US Department of Housing & Urban Development, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Invest Detroit, LISC Detroit, and others. LISC Detroit manages the Detroit Housing for the Future Fund (DHFF), which has contributed $32.8 million in low-cost loans and grants to support the city’s housing goals.

Julie Schneider, director of the housing and revitalization department, emphasized the broader impact of these investments: “Behind this major milestone are the thousands of residents who are benefitting from the stability and security that comes with affordable, quality housing. These investments across 46 neighborhoods and every City Council district in Detroit, bring critical affordable housing resources that will serve Detroiters for decades to come and is central to neighborhood development strategies.”

The $1 billion investment in Detroit’s affordable housing has contributed to a diverse range of 4,646 units tailored to various income levels. The breakdown of affordability within these units is as follows:

  • 39 units are affordable for households earning up to 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI).
  • 649 units cater to households earning 80% or less of AMI.
  • 1,682 units are priced for those making 60% or less of AMI.
  • 1,381 units are available to households earning 50% or less of AMI.
  • 895 units are designated for residents earning 30% or less of AMI.

Affordable housing is defined by costs that do not surpass 30% of a household’s monthly income. The current HUD Area Median Income (AMI) Chart for Detroit shows varied income thresholds, offering a clear picture of what residents can afford based on their household size:

  • For a 1-person household, the income limits are $19,900 at 30% AMI, $33,150 at 50% AMI, $39,780 at 60% AMI, and $53,050 at 80% AMI.
  • For a 2-person household, these limits increase to $22,750, $37,900, $45,480, and $60,600 respectively.
  • As household sizes increase, so do the income limits, adjusting up to a maximum of $37,500 for an 8-person household at 30% AMI, and stretching up to $100,000 at 80% AMI.

These thresholds ensure that affordable housing remains accessible to a wide spectrum of the Detroit population, aligning with their financial capabilities.

Donald Rencher, former Group Executive for Planning, Housing, and Development for the City of Detroit, and now President and CEO of the Hudson-Webber Foundation, reflected on Detroit’s strides in affordable housing with a sense of pride. He recalled the city’s 2018 initiative aimed at protecting low-income residents from being displaced, emphasizing the role of inclusive housing in Detroit’s economic revival. “This achievement was fueled by public-private partnerships, dedicated elected officials, and vigilant residents who continuously made their voices heard,” Rencher stated. He acknowledged ongoing challenges, noting, “Detroit still faces significant poverty, with affordable and stable housing playing a key role in overcoming economic hurdles. Yet, the lack of subsidies hinders progress. As we drive Detroit’s growth, ensuring inclusivity and prioritizing affordable housing as a cornerstone of economic development is crucial.”

This celebration not only marks a financial achievement but also reinforces Detroit’s commitment to inclusivity and stability in housing, ensuring that every citizen has the opportunity to live in a secure and welcoming environment.

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