Evan provided legal training and aid to tenant associations in Section 8 properties throughout metropolitan Detroit with the goal of preserving their homes and improving their communities.
With plans to redevelop Detroit fueling gentrification, there is anticipation of a significant threat to a large number of senior and family Section 8 buildings. With the increase in real estate prices, owners of buildings in gentrified areas have an incentive to opt out of resigning their contracts and sell to developers, who would then turn the properties into market rate apartments or condos, thus displacing the Section 8 residents. These residents would then be forced to move to another property in an already decreasing affordable housing market. This puts the low-income residents at risk of not finding housing and being pushed not only out of the gentrified areas but also possibly out of the city of Detroit altogether. This project will encourage the incorporation of tenant associations with the goal of providing a strong, knowledgeable community who are able to stand up and fight displacement from their homes.
During Evan’s Fellowship, Evan:
- Identified Section 8 properties with expiring contracts
- Assisted in the formation of tenant councils in those properties
- Held training sessions with residents advising them of their rights
The VISTA Affordable Housing Preservation Project (VAHPP) project builds the capacity of tenant associations in eligible Project based Section 8 HUD-assisted properties to increase tenants knowledge of their rights, responsibilities and options for preserving and improving their homes and communities as affordable housing.
There is a high need for preserving affordable housing within the City of Detroit as thousands of low income persons are experiencing evictions and homelessness. Outside of the VAHPP at UCHC and MLS, there are no other groups in Detroit assisting tenants with their organizing efforts. Some Landlords and managers in eligible Project Based Section 8 HUD assisted properties treat tenants, many of whom are seniors and disables, like children without providing them the basic respect they are due.