Outlier investigates bungled rent-to-own program in Detroit’s Brightmoor

Dawn Wilson Clarke has a reputation among her friends and neighbors for being able to get things done. She is a native Detroiter, an Army veteran, professional education advocate, mother of five and founding member of the Brightmoor Alliance. She even makes time to keep up her side job as Cuddles the Hip Hop Clown.

Wilson-Clarke has been working hard to get somebody, particularly a city official or one of her elected officials, to do something about her American Dream and those of her neighbors, collapsing in Brightmoor. She has hit a wall.

Wilson-Clark moved to Brightmoor almost two decades ago on the promise of a rent-to-own deal. A nonprofit developer, Northwest Detroit Neighborhood Development (NDND) was building 50 homes with a mix of city, state, and federal money and a bank loan. The homes would be handed over to tenants, Wilson-Clark says she was told, in 15 years.

It’s been 17 years. Wilson Clark has already paid $110K for her home and if she wants to purchase it outright NDND says that will cost her an additional $59K. None of the original Brightmoor homes has been handed over to a tenant or sold at all. Wilson-Clarke is still looking for answers and accountability.

Read Outlier’s investigation in the Detroit News.



Author: alvarez

Journalist and founder of Outlier Media.

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