I can’t believe it’s Week 8 of the fellowship! Only one more week to go everyone!
Reflecting on my time with CDAD, I feel thankful for the deep-dive of housing policies and initiatives in Detroit. Housing equity has always been a topic to me that hits close to home (no pun intended). I feel a deep, interpersonal connection to the housing crisis nationally, so I feel humbled, in a full-circle type of way, to be working with housing coalitions in Detroit to make the Detroit housing crisis safer, and more equitable. I have done a lot of work over the past few weeks with the Detroit Right to Counsel coalition, that has a mission of working together to establish and support a right to legal counsel for people facing eviction in Detroit. This means, with a right to counsel ordinance passed, that tenants will be guaranteed representation in court when being evicted from their homes. I have learned that In 2017, there were over 30,000 processed eviction cases in the 36th District Court of Michigan. From those cases, under 5% of tenants had legal representation in court. Landlords had access to legal representation over 80% of the time. Those statistics highlights so many issues–– power struggles, wealth disparities, racist policies, systemic poverty issues–– you name it.
I have also been learning (slightly) about Proposal N in Detroit. Proposal N would allow for the preservation and demolitions of 8,000 homes that are deemed unsafe, and lower neighborhood property values. On paper, this seems like a great initiative–– remove homes that cause blight and potentially open up empty lots for public parks, new homes, or just extra land. In reality, the process is a little finicky, and choosing which houses get demolished is a sort of vague process. I wonder what this proposal will accomplish in the next 5 years.
I am really lucky to have deep dived into housing policy and initiatives during my time with CDAD, and I hope to continue this work in the future.