Detroit launches plan to rehab old public housing units

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The City of Detroit announced new plans to redevelop hundreds of public housing units to create more opportunities for residents and eliminate blight.

"Most of time is spent on dealing with affordable housing in the city of Detroit," said Councilwoman Mary Sheffield.

A new proposal from Detroit city officials could make more housing available to low income residents.

For example, one building has been vacant for 20 years, formerly an apartment in Lee Plaza. If city officials have their way, the building will soon be full of residents instead of rubble, dust and broken glass.

"We're committed to having a mixed income community, where everyone feels welcome," said Arthur Jemison, Director of Housing and Revitalization for Detroit. "Both in the growing sections of the city as well as in neighborhoods, making sure the blight is eliminated and everyone can call Detroit home."

Lee Plaza is located in Sheffield's district.

"To have this opportunity where the city can acquire this property market it for low income housing is a win-win for Detroiters," said Sheffield.

The City of Detroit is proposing a transfer of hundreds of vacant public housing units from Detroit Housing Commission to eliminate blight and create more housing and rental assistance for residents making 30 to 50-percent of the area median income.

"We believe in Detroiters living together in mixed income neighborhoods and all of our work is designed to do that," Jemison said. "Because neighbors, Detroiters don't all have high incomes, we have to make sure we are serving them."

The $1.7 million dollar transaction would transfer two buildings, including Lee Plaza, to Detroit Building Authority and single family homes to the city's Land Bank Authority.

The proposal will be introduced to city council on Tuesday and a possible vote could take place next week.