Two years after it assumed oversight of the beleaguered demolition program, the City of Detroit still relies on contractors’ promises of soil safety.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the Detroit Land Bank Authority, the city’s largest landowner.
Several Detroit Land Bank Authority homebuyers say they were given misleading information by DWSD about missing water lines, resulting in thousands of dollars of unexpected repair bills.
“To be back home is a blessing and a privilege, and to report for my city as a Report for America corps member is an even bigger honor,” reporter Malak Silmi writes in her love letter to the city.
The state placed dozens of people in hotels to stave off homelessness because pandemic assistance didn’t come fast enough to prevent eviction. A tight rental market means many are still there but only have until the end of the month to move out.
So you’re thinking of buying a house in Detroit using a land contract. Congrats! This guide will help you navigate the process: The dos, the don’t, and the major red flags.
Jermain Paines was angry and demoralized. The Detroit resident showed up in person to two meetings of the Board of Water Commissioners over the last month to detail his experience purchasing a house in northwest Detroit from the Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA). “I thought I bought a dream house. I thought I bought a […]
Outlier Media is pleased to announce its newest hire — Malak Silmi — as a city and county government reporter in Detroit.
Last April a letter showed up in the mailboxes of numerous residents in northwest Detroit’s Bagley neighborhood saying the alleys behind their house could be converted into “public utility easements.” What that meant was that the city was relinquishing ownership of the alley behind their homes and giving it to residents. The letter went on […]
For the first time in recent Detroit history, homeowners are both getting out of tax foreclosure risk and exiting the delinquent tax system in substantial numbers.
Photographer Erik Paul Howard captures the borders and boundaries across Southwest Detroit.
Detroiters are still struggling to recover from last summer’s extensive flooding. Here’s what to know before 2022’s flood season.
Southwest Detroit is arguably the food truck capital of the city. It’s a robust ecosystem, nurtured by a mostly Latino immigrant street food vendor community that has flourished over the past decade or so, despite what some would call antiquated policies that regulate these businesses. In the mood for a tostada loaded high with citrusy […]
Financial help from the government may never materialize for some Detroit victims of last summer’s devastating flooding while thousands of others have been denied recovery aid. Federal data shows that nearly 39,000 households in the city had gotten some money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as of March 1 for flood damage. But another 8,204 families are […]
This story has been updated to clarify that the need for Detroit City Council approval for land sales of nine or more parcels applies only to DLBA-owned land. For years, Pashon Murray had been looking for land in Detroit for her composting business. The Michigan native founded Detroit Dirt in 2010. Working closely with someone from the […]
Detroit’s Parkside Homes was the first federally funded public housing project in Michigan when it opened in the 1930s. Now called The Villages at Parkside, most of the 276 units in the development are vacant or in disrepair despite the significant need for affordable housing in the city.
Detroit residents pay a little-known “utility users tax” on their gas and electric bills, funneling millions to the Detroit Police Department each year.
Here’s an explainer on DTE Energy’s high rates and shut-offs in metro Detroit — and a look at other models for more affordable utility bills.
Detroit City Councilmember Gabriela Santiago-Romero knows full well the impact of Latinx residents in Detroit moving Downriver. She represents District 6, which includes Southwest Detroit. That’s long been the heart of the city’s Latinx community. Plenty of her relatives have moved Downriver. Louis Aguilar: How long has your family lived in Southwest Detroit? Gabriela Santiago-Romero: […]
Expanding Latinx influences into new territory is what Lincoln Park and parts of Downriver is all about these days. My niece, who grew up there, was eager to show me all the Latinx small businesses in Lincoln Park. “That’s my dentist’s office. He always speaks Spanish to me,” Frances said, as we drove past an […]
DTE Energy shut off accounts more than 200,000 times since the pandemic began and 1.2 million times before that. A regulatory system built to prioritize investors over affordability let it happen.
By Ted Phillips Detroit City Council President Mary Sheffield and other councilmembers are considering introducing a new ordinance that would provide Detroit residents facing eviction with a right to legal representation. These types of ordinances, known as right-to-counsel laws, have been enacted in cities throughout the country, including New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Toledo. […]
A worker evicts Detroit resident Jeanette Shannon from her home in the Winship neighborhood on the city’s west side in June 2016. Photo credit: Jim Dwight/Detroit Eviction Defense By Ted Phillips After more than 76 million COVID-19 cases in America and nearly 1 million deaths, the push is on to return to “normal.” But with […]
Joe Rashid is a Detroiter. And lest you get it twisted, he’s not, “New Detroit,” either. He was born here and never left, except for a few years in Vermont for college. “My family goes back,” he said, “just in that [LaSalle Gardens] neighborhood, over 120 years.” Rashid makes a point of telling people about […]
“Sustainability is constantly a whitewashed narrative. They say in order to be sustainable, you have to drive an electric car,” Calandra Jones, Eco-D Program Coordinator at EcoWorks Detroit, said. “But Black folks have been doing sustainability their whole lives—we reuse containers, we save our plastic bags, we wrap our furniture in plastic, we put plastic […]
When Tharmond Ligon Jr., 42, moved back to Detroit from Southfield in 2013, his childhood neighborhood near the former Michigan State Fairgrounds, “wasn’t being cared for as it could be,” he recounted. At the time, he was 33. His move was motivated by an interest to tackle problems in the neighborhood. “We know nature provides […]
The Detroit Public Library system has a plan to reopen 12 neighborhood branches in July, making this summer the first time the public can visit these branches in person since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. It is welcome news for the 3 million annual visitors the city library system had prior to the […]
On March 20, 1929, a 21-year-old man named Agostino Guerra sailed to New York on the Augustin, leaving his beloved San Marino, a microstate within north central Italy. Guerra had three things going for him: He was powerfully built at around 5 foot, 6 inches and about 180 pounds. He had $70 in his pocket […]
Outlier Media has learned that one of its formerly used checking accounts was compromised in two attempts of fraud. Checks bearing the correct account number and Outlier’s former mailing address were issued to at least two people in November. Two targets of the attempted fraud—one person in Arizona, the other in Missouri—contacted Outlier to verify […]
A little more than 25% of housing units in Detroit are vacant—a staggering 92,000 units. For longtime Detroiters bearing witness to this in real time, a number of this magnitude carries complex weight. Few would fault residents for feeling compounded emotions after years of population decline, overtaxation, and foreclosure followed by land bank auctions, property […]
The line at Qahwa House is long on a (worryingly) warm Friday night in December—but that’s normal basically any night of the week, even amid a COVID-19 surge. The coffeehouse in West Dearborn was thrumming with life, dozens of people laughing over plates of sabayah and kids sneaking sips of lattes. There is an unmistakable […]
Paying cash for a house might, for some, conjure up images of bidding wars and deep-pocketed investors who can easily dip into fat bank accounts. But in Detroit, a majority of homes are bought in cash. Even people who could really use a loan or a mortgage are instead forced into riskier cash transactions. We’ve […]
It’s been a big year for The Dig—and the newsletter is barely over a year old. In 2021, Outlier Media became our publisher (which earned a mention in a New York Times article this year). I’ll be forever grateful to Detour Detroit, which launched The Dig last year. The newsletter’s move to Outlier has provided […]
Near the beginning of the pandemic, Mary Hamilton was laid off from her job as a nurse assistant. Health complications related to kidney disease made it hard to find work and she was having trouble paying for rent. So on May 15, she applied for COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA). Her situation is precisely the kind […]
As Michigan’s residential electric rates have increased even since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the state appears poised to approve plans that could slash costs for large industrial manufacturers by as much as 60%. A new program proposed to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) by Consumers Energy would reduce rates for new industrial customers using […]
Searching for gift ideas for a special person? Well, if they love Detroit, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together this list with a variety of options for people with all kinds of interests and needs. Whether they’re into books, home goods, art, architecture or the environment, we’ve got you covered. Here are […]
Jonathan Peters rides the bus nearly every day, commuting from his home in Detroit’s Warrendale neighborhood near the Dearborn border to his job in Pontiac. It’s a long ride—over an hour when the buses arrive on time. And he’s fortunate that the first stop on his commute on Warren Avenue has a bus shelter. “During […]
Last Wednesday, Outlier Media published a piece in partnership with NBC News about a scam where people rent out or sell houses they don’t actually own. The residents I interviewed struggled to hold the scammers accountable. Many lower income Detroiters are forced into parts of the housing market that are less formal because mortgage companies, […]
This article was published in partnership with NBC News DETROIT — The day she made the final payment on her house last spring, June Walker could barely contain her jubilation. “I was running around the house, just thanking God,” said Walker, 65, who had scrimped and saved for more than two years, setting aside most […]
Over the last decade, tax foreclosure and abandonment were the main drivers of blight in Detroit. But today, residents are struggling to prevent the deterioration of the aging homes they own and live in. Tens of thousands of residents live in crumbling homes that are bad for their health and steadily losing value because owners […]
As the temperature drops outdoors, many Detroiters have undoubtedly been looking at their thermostat and wondering when they should turn up the temperature indoors. The thought of rising utility bills has that effect on us. Detroiters live in older homes—a majority of the city’s housing stock was built before 1950—which are much more likely to […]
COVID-19 rental relief dollars can be spent to help people who have become homeless or stayed unhoused because of the pandemic. But an Outlier investigation has found that fewer than 100 people statewide have so far been able to access that relief. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) changed their policy this summer to […]
In the spring of 2020, Alita Crowley fell behind on her land-contract payments. It was the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The now 59-year-old was dealing with a toxic sewage leak in her duplex’s basement. Concerned about her health, she redirected some her limited funds to fixing the problem; it was her responsibility as part of […]
Maps do a lot more than just help us navigate physical space. They also help us navigate the social, economic and political dynamics that have shaped places. “Detroit in 50 Maps” by Alex B. Hill ($30, 144 pages), published by Belt Magazine, is a clear demonstration of this ability. Detroit is a geographically flat city […]
Instead of creating around 11,000 new jobs and investing $11 billion in its backyard, Michigan-based Ford Motor Co. went south, deciding in September to invest in two new electric vehicle battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky. Ford CEO Jim Farley repeatedly cited lower energy rates as part of the motivation but never explained why those […]
Outlier Media’s The Dig has published this story in partnership with Planet Detroit. Nora Rodriguez has lived three places in her life, all in Southwest Detroit. Nearly everything she needs is nearby—her job, friends and family, grocery stores, restaurants and more. But every house is also close to factories or highways. Where she lives now, […]
After six years, a housing dispute between a nonprofit and one of their tenants and vocal critics has finally come to a conclusion. “I’m happy because I got my divorce,” said Geraldine Smith-Bey, who is 58. “I finally got the deed to my house.” The “divorcing” couple was Smith-Bey and Storehouse of Hope, a nonprofit […]
Before COVID-19, one of the most talked about issues was news that the City of Detroit collectively overtaxed homeowners by at least $600 million between 2010 and 2016. And, at least 53% of the assessments were in violation of Michigan’s Constitution. The sense of urgency about redressing the overtaxed has faded, but many policymakers, activists […]
Update: An earlier version of this story indicated that the Love Building is formerly known by that name. The building name has not changed. The developers and designers behind a Core City building that has faced controversy are expanding on that project. But, they also say they are determined to create a multi-building campus that ultimately advances […]
In recent months, the Russell Industrial Center, one of the largest remaining artist spaces in the city, has been sharply raising rents on some of its tenants, even doubling or quadrupling rates in less than a year and a half. The increases are putting pressure on the tenants—mostly artists and craftspeople like painters, photographers, glassmakers […]
The city told residents of East Davison Village that they’d get access to the neighborhood’s vacant property. Instead, most of those homes have gone to newcomers.
We’re hiring an Operations Manager to work with our small, but powerful team as we expand to serve more Detroiters and reimagine local news as an essential service. Our newsroom will grow over the next several years and we need a skilled and thoughtful business manager who can help us manage today and plan for the future.
The Detroit Public Schools Community District School Board failed to adopt a resolution that would have recognized June as Pride Month.
Here’s a guide breaking down illegal dumping in Detroit, how it affects residents, how fines and enforcement work, where and when to get rid of all of your large trash and more.
For so long, issues of economic security were presented as personal or private family matters. But COVID-19 changed some things.
Do the words “CORN REAL GOOD” mean anything to you? If so, you’ve gotten a glimpse of Detroit food stands and the city’s informal food economy.
Residents at the Jeffersonian apartment building in Detroit, many who have been without air conditioning for months, were warned to find alternative housing during the heat wave.
Ahead of the 50th Motor City Pride celebration in Detroit, parade grand marshal Jaye Spiro reflected on five decades in the LGBTQ+ movement.