Fighting for “Housing Is a Human Right”

It’s Winter again and every year we know temperatures are going to go below the freezing point. If you’re homeless or living in poverty, there’s no way to escape the cold and protect yourself from the pain of freezing wind on your skin without shelter.

Yet, across the country, thousands of cities and municipalities are tearing down thousands of low-income affordable housing units (aka public housing) in favor of mixed income housing. The problem is if you have no income or chance of a living wage job (like thousands of people in Detroit),  and you’ve been drastically time-limited off of public assistance (like Gov. Snyder has done to thousands of families across Michigan), what are your housing options?

These are questions MWRO and the Housing is a Human Rights Coalition discuss on a daily basis. You ask, but aren’t there places where low income people (under 62 years old) can get housing assistance and take shelter?

  • Forget the homeless shelters, they’re full and oftentimes not safe spaces for children.
  • Forget Section 8, the wait list (if you can get on one) is 2-4 years long.
  • Forget HUD public housing projects, thousands of units are torn down annually and those that get saved are converted to senior housing apartments.
  • Forget privately managed apartment buildings, they require credit checks, large deposits, first and last month rents, steady income, silent children and babies — oh, yeah…and a pint of blood.

In fact, more people are being displaced from Detroit affordable housing as we post this:  Developers, HUD, Non-Profits Collude To Move Detroit Seniors, Disabled Out Of Downtown Griswold Apts.

In Detroit and across the state of Michigan millions of dollars in federal housing assistance aid come through (like the Step Forward Program) to help families prevent foreclosure and to keep homeless shelters running. These are surely needed funds.

But what we also need are programs and policies to rebuild good housing stock in Detroit — not tear it down — specifically for LOW INCOME families. At this time there are no public officials, private developers, non-profit organizations or housing authorities addressing this critical need.

MWRO and HHRC are working with local residents and officials to educate the community on this dire situation and build solutions. We invite you to learn more about this on the HHRC website.

To sign up for our next set of housing workshops, call MWRO at (313) 964-0618.

 

Detroit Shelter, photo courtesy: VoiceOfDetroit.net

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