The Lower eastside housing task force…

 ... was created in 2017 to include a broad cross-section of community partners working to increase supply of affordable housing, reduce the inventory of vacant and abandoned homes, and improve upkeep of homes that are privately owned by homeowners and landlords in the Chandler Park neighborhood with the intent on sharing best practices with communities throughout the lower eastside of Detroit.

ECN identified the Chandler Park neighborhood as an initial neighborhood to focus on because of its existing infrastructure and assets. Hence, Chandler Park is poised to fulfill the City’s vision for a 20-minute neighborhood – a community where you can walk or bike 20-minutes from your home to get whatever you need – and ECN is committed to supporting the neighborhood in stabilizing its housing conditions and securing its open space to enhance its marketing potential.

On Friday, November 3, 2017, 22 community partners and stakeholders gathered at Mack Market (14711 Mack Avenue) to officially establish the Lower Eastside Housing Task Force. With the purpose of developing a plan highlighting opportunities and strategies that respond to both the assumptions and the realities of affordable housing in Detroit's Chandler Park Neighborhood, the Task Force established the following goals:

·         Create quality, affordable housing opportunities to maintain and attract renters and homeowners

·         Ensure lasting affordability by maximizing the impact of existing community resources

·         Stabilize existing housing stock (occupied & unoccupied)

·         Capture best practices to transfer to other communities within LEAP

Towards this end, preliminary research was requested from the Harvard University Community Development Program (Kennedy School of Government partnered with Graduate School of Design) to evaluate the relative strengths and benefits of rental v. land contract v. land trust v. limited equity coop. In addition, the Kennedy School was asked to identify models and examples of best practices ECN and partner organization could implement in the Chandler Park neighborhood and city-wide as it relates to the ownership options listed above.

The University of Michigan Taubman School of Architecture and Planning was asked to evaluate rental housing in the Chandler Park neighborhood including the quality and condition of rental housing and landlord-tenant challenges, as well as define a pilot project that would provide training and support to landlords and renters in partnership with ProsperUS, Building Community Value, Brick and Beam and/or the Michigan Housing Preservation Task Network.

At the end of 2017, the Taubman School completed their research and presented their findings in a 187 page report titled, “ Insecurity Deposits: Addressing the Challenges of Rental Housing in Detroit.” This provides information pertaining to the rental and ownership trends in Chandler Park as well as provides recommendations for responding to the challenges and opportunities associated with these trends. The Task Force will incorporate these recommendations into their final report, projected to be complete by the summer of 2018.

The Task Force is co-chaired by Eboni Wells, Member of the Chandler Park Neighborhood Association and Darnell Adams, Director of Inventory at the Detroit Land Bank Authority.  Participating member organizations include: 313 Historic Preservation, Brick + Beam, Building Community Value (BCV), Chandler Park Neighborhood Association, Community Choice Realty, Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD), Detroit Future City (DFC), Doing Development Differently in Detroit (D4), Genesis HOPE, Harvard University, Invest Detroit, Life Builders, Michigan Historic Preservation Network (MHPN), MACC Development, Michigan Community Resources, New Start Construction, Rock Ventures, University of Michigan, U SNAP BAC.

For more information, contact Andrea Benson, Director of Community Development, at 313-331-3280.