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Detroit launches office to help residents facing displacement, housing insecurity

A neighborhood in Detroit
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio
Houses in a Detroit neighborhood.

A new city office aims to expand resources for Detroit residents who are, or are on the precipice of, being displaced from their homes.

The Housing Services Office offers individual case-management to those in need of new housing, including assisting with housing applications, helping residents obtain the right documents needed for a move, and covering some moving costs.

David Bowser, the associate director of the office, said it streamlines the process of getting assistance from the city, and will help residents obtain affordable and stable housing.

“What the Detroit Housing Services Office does is provide services at the point of a displacement. A case manager will be attached to you and your family to begin to help you navigate through the resources needed to find housing,” Bowser said.

He said he also hopes this will relieve pressure from homeless shelters.

Mary Waters, a Detroit City Council member, described the office as a one-stop shop for Detroiters' housing needs. She said it will guide people to the right resources, quicker.

“Oftentimes, people become extremely frustrated when they're transferred around. This will help to eliminate this because we're going to be a full-service department,” Waters said.

The project is part of Detroit's $203 affordable housing plan announced last summer.

The office will join the Detroit Housing Resource HelpLine — available during business hours on weekdays at 866-313-2420 — in connecting both renters and property owners with resources suited to their circumstances.

Bowser said the line offers one-on-one help to make navigating city resources easier for residents.

Bowser encouraged anyone experiencing housing insecurity to call the helpline as soon as possible.

Taylor Bowie is a senior studying English Literature at the University of Michigan and an intern in the Michigan Radio newsroom. She is originally from Owosso, Michigan.
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