Detroit City was on the cusp of becoming a ghost town. The once proud Motor City had fallen into disrepair and chaos after the collapse of the city's auto industry.
Growing up across the Detroit River, in Windsor, Ontario, I saw and felt first hand a tidbit of what Detroit City residents were going through. Unemployment skyrocketed, home foreclosure became common place, and starvation was becoming a reality for far too many people. It was a man-made disaster.
Check out this video of the reality facing residents of Mo-Town.
But there is now a glimmer of hope.
Cass Community Social Services has started a revolutionary project, Tiny Homes Detroit. They are building an entire community of tiny homes for low-income Detroit residents will be able to afford.
The homes will range from between 250-400 square feet, with residents paying a mere $1 per square foot to be able to rent them. There have been other "Tiny Home Communities" popping up across the U.S., but the one in Detroit is doing something that none of the others are: offering residents the ability to rent-to-own.
They aren't even using the typical sub-division equation of stamping out four different model homes in a repeating pattern; each home will be unique from every other home in the community, including a lighthouse style home going up on the corner.
New residents have already started moving into the homes that have already been completed, and as more houses are built, the community will grow and flourish. Talk about thinking outside the box.
The project leaders know that giving someone a place to live that is within their means is only a first step, there are more conditions to living in this community aside from paying rent. Taking financial literacy classes is also mandatory for all residents.
If all goes well, after seven years of living in these homes, and paying rent, they will own them which means more than just a place to call your own. It means equity. It means having something to leave for the next generation.
Detroit, you may have been down, but you aren't out.
Would you love to see something like this happen in your city? Let us know.