Detroit city council approves plan to keep low-income Detroiters in city

- Detroit's comeback is spreading from downtown to the neighborhoods but some say gentrification is forcing Detroiters out of their neighborhoods. A council member has a plan to fix that.

Detroit city councilwoman Mary Sheffield said Detroit has a housing crisis and on Tuesday, she managed to get a unanimous City Council to approval some bold housing proposals.

"Today we took a step in the right direction to make sure that we are setting aside units at affordable rates that truly reflects the income of residents here in the City of Detroit," Sheffield said.

A housing trust fund, starting with $2 million, will be set up for housing needs of low income Detroiters. Then the housing developers have to do their part.

"In the new development that we're seeing, make sure that a percentage of those units are set aside for low income residents," Sheffield said.

More specifically, if a developer wants to receive city subsidies or discounted land, they must make at least 20% of their units affordable for residents who are at 80% of the local area median income.

"It's definitely not complicated, I think it's very simple. It just lays out the requirements that if you come to do business with the city, if you're requesting public funds or funds from the city of Detroit, here is what we're asking for you to do to benefit the residents in the city of Detroit," Sheffield said.

She said beyond the city council, she wants to work with legislature and Congress to set up affordable housing for low-income Detroiters.

"Unfortunately, state law prohibits us from enacting rent control," she said.

However, another proposal required HUD-subsidized landlords to give notice to their tenants, and the City, when their rent is going up. 

"The tenants receive some type of comfort in proper notification on how to react in that situation if, in fact, their unit becomes market rate."

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