Hey everyone,

Hope you had a nice Fourth of July! We celebrated, too, so The Dig is lighter than usual this week. 

Over the course of our reporting on the Detroit Housing Commission (DHC), we’ve been surprised at how little those in charge of overseeing the commission have committed to making reforms despite the breadth of issues we uncovered. What will it take to get those agencies and individuals to act? U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib told Outlier she’s going to schedule a meeting with the DHC and “won’t hesitate to hold responsible parties accountable.”

On another note, we did a double take when some transit officials said they’re looking to expand the QLine. 

As always, thanks for reading.

The Dirt

>>Big ask for the QLine: Southeast Michigan transportation planners said they will seek federal funding for public transit, including money to expand the QLine. Ben Stupka, general manager of the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan, said the 3.3-mile streetcar line could be extended in multiple directions, not just north on Woodward Avenue. But many academics, riders and activists say it’s not worth the investment, given the QLine’s limitations, slow speed and low ridership. In December, its operator received an $85 million subsidy from the state to remain free for riders through 2039. (BridgeDetroit)

>>Surplus spending spree: A $9 billion surplus in the state budget has given lawmakers room to dish out a number of one-time grants to developers, including many in Detroit. Recipients of those grants are building or redeveloping the Fisher Building ($5 million), Fisher Body Plant ($5 million), Lee Plaza ($6 million) and the Monroe Street redesign ($20 million). (Detroit Free Press)

>>Short-term crisis? The short-term rental bubble may be bursting. A national Airbnb “crash” is underway as revenues for landlords drop by nearly 50% in major cities like Phoenix and Austin, Texas. (One analytics firm disputes the data, saying listings were down just 3%.) Detroit Airbnb hosts made 50% less than U.S. hosts in general, earning about $7,000 per listing in 2022. (Newsweek, Axios Detroit)

>>Development news quick-hitters: The city completed a $6 million revamp of Roosevelt Park with new pathways unifying the greenspace in front of Michigan Central Station… Developers gave a tour of the luxury apartment building at the former site of the Joe Louis Arena. They say it’ll be the tallest residential tower built in the city in decades. The 496 units will have floor-to-ceiling windows, and some will have views of the Detroit River… Bedrock proposed a 60,000-square-foot vertical farm facility in Milwaukee Junction. (Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, Urbanize Detroit)

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The Low-Rent Trap investigated a flawed affordable housing system and obtained answers from the Detroit Housing Commission (DHC), an agency many Detroiters found unreachable. Throughout our series, we’ve heard from our community just how impactful and relatable this series has been for you. Become a partner in exposing flaws in fractured systems. Join us by donating to Outlier today!

Dig This

The DHC is failing. So are those in charge of oversight.

Two-story brick office building with six arched windows and a front door. “Detroit Housing Commission” appears in small black letters above the door. The building is fronted with greenery, flowers and a mowed lawn.
Investigations by Outlier Media revealed major issues at the Detroit Housing Commission, but oversight has been lacking. Photo credit: Aaron Mondry

Outlier Media reached out to the agencies responsible for directly overseeing the Detroit Housing Commission, its Board of Commissioners and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. None of them made a commitment to instituting reforms.

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib wants them to. She told Outlier it’s “unacceptable that our most vulnerable residents are living in terrible conditions” and that she’s reached out to the DHC for a meeting to better understand the challenges it and its residents face.

Aaron (he/him) believes in telling true stories about real people. He doesn’t think there’s anything better than a crisp fall afternoon at the Detroit Jazz Fest.