Housing insecurity hits Detroit’s minority renters

The City of Detroit has done a better job of helping residents stay in their homes, but renters are now facing greater risks, experts say.

Detroit used to be ground zero for the idea of homeownership, especially for Black residents. However that has changed over recent decades.

A wave of foreclosures in the 2000s and 2010s were prompted by overtaxed homes, rampant speculation from non-Detroiters and the Detroit Land Bank Authority often not representing city residents properly.

New reports highlight how African Americans are systematically denied mortgages compared to their white peers when trying to buy homes in the city.

“There are a few solutions that help renters, but the vast majority really focus on owner occupants.” — Allie Gross, freelance journalist

Listen: How Detroit shifted from being a city of homeowners to one of renters.



Allie Gross is a freelance journalist who recently wrote a piece for BridgeDetroit titled, “Detroit’s foreclosure crisis is coming for renters.” She says about 5,000 non-owner-occupied homes in Detroit are at risk of foreclosure, as there is not enough assistance to keep renters in their homes.

“There are a few solutions that help renters,” says Gross, “but the vast majority really focus on owner occupants.”

Ted Phillips is the executive director of the United Community Housing Coalition. Phillips says tenants can be directly assisted in becoming homeowners through his nonprofit, which provides buyers with very low interest rates.

“We need to increase our efforts to create homeownership,” says Phillips, “and I think this is one way we can do it — directly assisting renters to become homeowners.”

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Sam Corey

    Sam Corey is a producer for Detroit Today on 101.9 WDET, which includes finding and preparing interesting stories for radio. He enjoys salsa dancing — and actual salsa.