Detroit housing

SamPac / creative commons

By official economic measures, this country has emerged from the Great Recession.

But recovery is not being felt in many neighborhoods in large and mid-sized cities.

Since 2000, the number of people living in high-poverty ghettos, barrios, and slums has nearly doubled from 7.2 million to nearly 14 million people.

That's the highest number of Americans living in high-poverty neighborhoods ever recorded. 

Shipping container housing project underway in Detroit

Apr 17, 2015
Astrid Westvang / Creative Commons

A project that turns empty shipping containers into sustainable housing kicked off in Detroit this week.

Development firm Three Squared is using nine containers to construct a three story unit in the city's Corktown neighborhood. 

It's about to get easier to buy a home in Detroit

Apr 16, 2015
House Hands
thinkpanama / Creative Commons

A zero-down mortgage without closing costs, fees or a credit check probably sounds too good to be true, but it's about to become a reality for some Detroit home buyers.

Mayor Mike Duggan Thursday announced a new mortgage program to make it easier to finance a home in the city.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

DETROIT – The federal government has ended 10 years of management of Detroit's public housing system and restored it to local control.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says in a statement Tuesday that the change is effective March 16. U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro says the update "represents an important milestone in Detroit's road to recovery."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week in Michigan politics, Jack and Emily discuss anguish over Flint’s water, a plan for some Detroiters to pay half price on auctioned homes and a new gun bill moving ahead in Lansing.

House in Detroit.
Jason Irla / Flickr

DETROIT - Mayor Mike Duggan has released a plan to allow Detroit municipal workers, retirees and their families to pay half the price of their winning auction bids for city-owned houses.

Duggan told reporters Monday that the program will help strengthen neighborhoods and return more residents to home ownership.

He says the plan could be in place by mid-February if approved by City Council.

The city owns thousands of empty houses. It is tearing down those that can't be rehabilitated while attempting to sell others to buyers willing to fix them up and move in. Detroit began auctioning vacant houses last year through its land bank.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The long-vacant Strathmore Hotel in Midtown Detroit  is reportedly being rehabbed to become an apartment complex, opening in 2016. The eight-story building at 160 West Alexandrine is being gutted and cleaned up right now.

via Wayne State University

Some renters in and around downtown Detroit are exploring the idea of a tenants’ union.

A group of them met this past weekend to discuss the possibility.

Some renters in the city’s revived downtown and midtown areas worry that as the real estate market heats up, they’ll be pushed out by higher rents.

Tenants in subsidized housing are particularly concerned about being displaced for market-rate units.

Vacant lot in Detroit.
University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment / Flickr

DETROIT - Plans call for allowing some Detroit residents to buy vacant lots next to their properties for $100.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press report City Council on Tuesday approved the transfer of about 10,000 parcels of vacant city land to the Detroit Land Bank following an agreement with state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr.

Council had earlier rejected a proposed transfer of more than four times that number of parcels, saying the plans were too broad. With Tuesday's action, the Detroit Land Bank can begin selling lots to residents. The effort is known as the side lot program.

The city wants to sell vacant lots to get them back onto tax rolls. Hundreds of city residents are already taking care of vacant lots near their homes for planting and gardening.

Col. Frank J. Hecker House in Detroit
User: Werewombat / Wikimedia Commons

DETROIT - A Plano, Texas, company has been hired to give Detroit a clear picture of how much individual properties in the city are worth.

Tyler Technologies Inc. says its appraisal arm will compile data on real property in the city. It says Detroit has not completed a full reappraisal of real property in more than 50 years.

A spokesman for emergency manager Kevyn Orr says Tyler's CLT Appraisal Services unit will give the city a "more accurate assessment of property values." Bill Nowling says the city will use it to "create more accurate property tax bills."

Mayor Mike Duggan said earlier this year that the city would lower property tax bills by reassessing home values. He says high, unrealistic property assessments have angered city residents and forced many from their homes.

A new experiment meant to fill some of Detroit's vacant city-owned homes appears to be paying off.

City officials plan to announce an expansion of the online auction today.

The Detroit Land Bank Authority started putting one house up for auction on a website each day last week. Bids started at $1,000, and all five drew high bids between $30,000 and $42,000.

So far, 6,000 people have signed up to bid.

GRDC / Facebook

It's no secret that the Great Recession took a huge toll on Michigan's population.

Our state population dropped for six straight years, leveled out from 2010-2011, and increased slightly from 2011-2012.

For many cities and neighborhoods, the post-recession challenge is getting new residents back into vacant homes.

One Detroit neighborhood is succeeding in that challenge: the Grandmont-Rosedale area, which is actually made up of five smaller areas on Detroit's West Side.