Detroit Proposes New Fund to Help Rents Remain Affordable

Rents in Detroit are soaring at some buildings bought by new developers, driving away some residents who simply can’t afford the skyrocketing prices. But city officials are proposing a new fund they say will help keep rents affordable.

Quinn Klinefelter/WDET

Detroit officials are unveiling a plan to keep residents in city buildings before developers can raise the rental prices.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan dedicated his recent State of the City address to “those who stayed here” and pledged to create more affordable places to live for residents on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder.

Now city officials say they will create a $250 million dollar fund to keep as many as 12,000 housing units affordable for those with low incomes over the next 5 years.

Detroit Director of Housing and Revitalization Arthur Jemison says the funding will help keep rents stable for residents in places like the Industrial Senior Apartments, a building in the city’s thriving business district, without driving away investors.

“I think that we will be able to get buildings like this maintained and preserved and we’ll (still) be able to get new development,” Jemison said. “Just behind me there’s a crane in the air back here where the Statler Building is going up. I think that there’s a place for everybody.”

Jemison says the Affordable Housing Leverage Fund will target the 10 most populated areas of Detroit, plus a few other neighborhoods.

He says the fund will help keep rents down for people like Stella Buchanan.

Duggan cited her as an example in his State of the City speech. Buchanan says she was forced out of the Griswold Apartments after a new developer bought the building.

“They sold the Griswold and we all had to leave. It was, like, 130-some people that left. And I don’t know where they all went. I just wanted to be downtown so I kind of stayed in the area. We just scattered out,” she said.

Buchanan now lives in the downtown Industrial Senior Apartments.

She says she feared she might have to leave that building too, because it depended on tax credits that were expiring.

Then the city moved to offset the lost funding.

Officials say the proposed Affordable Housing Leverage Fund will allow them to continue that kind of help.

The fund includes grants, low-interest loans and taxpayer money that must still be approved by the Detroit City Council.


  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.