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Creating an Inclusive Detroit

6.21.2017

Amidst growing concerns about the availability of affordable housing for Detroiters, Detroit LISC Executive Director Tahirih Ziegler discuses the importance of creative, flexible approaches to meeting the needs of residents.

The excerpt below is from The HUB Detroit published on 6/21/17.

Mayor Mike Duggan promises a “city for everyone.”

But getting from “here” to “there” in a city that has more than 10,000 homeless and a whopping one third of residents living below the poverty level is admittedly going to be a challenging task.

In order to be successful, Duggan must bridge the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots.”

And that gap is “widening,” says Tahirih Ziegler, an affordable housing expert and executive director of Detroit LISC, a leading non-profit that has committed more than $200 million to Detroit affordable housing and community development initiatives in the past year alone.

The mayor has vowed not to support any renovation project that will displace low-income residents, and has worked to keep low-income residents in government-subsidized units likely to go to market-rate without intervention. Duggan also has issued a 20 percent mandate for affordable housing financed by the city.

“Our principle is this: one city for all of us,” says Duggan.

There are some glimmers of hope in that regard.

Thirty-eight percent of the development identified in TheHUB’s recent, exclusive report of $594 million in new homes for District 5 were reserved for affordable housing, nearly double the mayor’s goal. High-profile efforts, like the recently announced $32 million Sugar Hill development in Midtown that set aside 25 percent of units for residents earning 50 to 80 percent of the area median income are a good start, Ziegler says.

”I think we can do better as a city to address affordability,” she says in a recent broadcast of WXYT 1270AM’s Small Talk with Mark S. Lee.

Although Detroit has moved the needle on affordable housing, Detroit LISC’s executive director Tahirih Ziegler says the city and its development partners must move faster. Photo Paul Engstrom
The city and its development partners must move faster, be more strategic and do even more to accommodate its lowest-income residents, whose earnings disqualify them from occupancy in affordable units allotted to new developments, Ziegler says.

Detroit LISC is one of the more visible advocates working to bridge the affordability gap in Detroit.

Continued on The HUB Detroit