City of Detroit forms partnership to improve housing without raising rent

The City of Detroit and its Housing and Revitalization Department have assembled a team of affordable housing experts and advocates to help guide and finance citywide housing renovation efforts while at the same time attempting to eliminate the risk of rent spikes and other increases.

Mayor Mike Duggan announced the formation of the Preservation Partnership on Monday, March 9, at Conner Creek Senior Apartments.

The new partnership aims to identify buildings that have low rents due to the poor physical conditions of the buildings. It will then work to help find financing for renovations yet offset the costs with programs that maintain affordability and prevent displacement.

At least part of that financing comes from the city’s Affordable Housing Leverage Fund, which was launched in 2018.

"The Preservation Partnership is the realization of a longtime vision of bringing experts from a variety of fields together to launch an all-encompassing approach to preserving affordable housing in the city of Detroit and keeping Detroiters in their homes," says Julie Schneider, deputy director of the Housing and Revitalization Department. Schneider is credited with leading the effort to create the partnership.

"This is an initiative that has been so close to my heart given the incredible importance that we preserve not only affordable housing, but a Detroit for everyone."

Each organization brings its own unique skillset to the table.

Affordable housing nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners leads the Preservation Partnership team. Cinnaire and CHN Housing Partners will develop lease-purchase and free technical assistance programs. Data Driven Detroit will create and manage a database of affordable housing. Elevate Energy will make energy-efficiency assessments, leading to cheaper utilities. Community Investment Corp. is a national leader in naturally occurring affordable housing strategies.

The Detroit-based nonprofit United Community Housing Coalition will build and maintain direct relationships with the tenants.

"Navigating housing affordability and government programs can be confusing and frustrating, especially for residents," says Claudia Sanford, director of tenant housing for UCHC.

"UCHC will ensure that the decisions and recommendations that the partnership makes will have the greatest impact and do the most good in the community by ensuring that Detroiters’ needs are addressed."

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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