- Nancy Combs
Detroit Housing Network
Through an unprecedented collaboration announced in May, six nonprofits will receive $2.2 million in invested dollars. This influx, to address Detroit’s housing crisis, combines federal funds, and monies from the Rocket Community Fund, created by the Rock Family of Companies, which includes Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans.
“The Rocket Community Fund’s investment leverages the City of Detroit Housing & Revitalization Department’s investment of COVID-19 response dollars through the federal CARES Act,” according to a City of Detroit press release announcing the program.
The six non-profits are operating as the Detroit Housing Network. Their mission is to “create healthy neighborhoods and advance racial equity in our communities by increasing housing stability and affordable homeownership for Detroit residents.”
Funds will support a full range of housing and financial stability services, said Keegan Mahoney, Detroit Housing and Redevelopment Department program director for Policy and Implementation.
Collaboration is the key – and it happens on three levels. First, the City of Detroit, Rocket Community Fund, and CHN Housing Partners, an affordable housing developer and services provider, are collaborating to leverage and administer the funds.
Second, the six agencies will get new resources to build capacity and collaborate more closely. “The network expects to expand to additional nonprofit partners later in 2021,” Mahoney said.
Third, each participating organization, which already provides a full complement of wraparound services, engages its own network of partners.
Low-income older adults will benefit from the property tax solutions and home repair assistance offered by the Detroit Housing Network. “When we look at the data, we see the majority of homeowners in Detroit are seniors, or will be,” Mahoney said.
“Housing programs need to be highly responsive to reach seniors, who have been anchors of their neighborhoods for decades,” he said. “If the hole in the roof makes the house unlivable, you don’t just lose that resident. You lose the entire network of that senior’s relationships,” he said, adding, “then, multiply that – house by house, block by block.”
Home repair is an early priority, Mahoney said, augmented by the certified housing counselors at each organization to provide and link services, including those the city and other agencies currently offer.
Detroit Network partners are well familiar with programs that make a difference, he said. “And because they are community-based, these organizations are also more likely to know about small businesses right in the neighborhood that can be engaged to assist.
“Our goal is to provide holistic, integrative services,” Mahoney said. “The most important thing we are trying to address is the perception there is no help out there for residents struggling with housing stability. We want housing counseling to be highly visible and trusted. Ultimately, we are seeking to reduce housing instability in all its forms,” he said.
Bridging Communities, a vital, bustling Southwest Detroit community-based organization, is one of the six nonprofits selected to launch the Detroit Housing Network. The multi-service agency supports seniors and their quality of life by surrounding its clients with coordinated resources and supports, ranging from eldercare to home repair and from help with property tax relief to intergenerational programming.
In many ways, Bridging Communities had been modeling the Detroit Housing Network framework for some time, said Executive Director Phyllis Edwards. “We are a one-stop shop,” she noted.
The difference now, she said, is that Bridging Communities can work more closely with other organizations throughout the city in the strongest collaboration yet to focus on housing, while building capacity around its existing programs and community partnerships.
The six agencies meet virtually each month to problem-solve, share challenges and successes, as well as best practices..
“We look at the total picture of a person,” Edwards said. “As an example, we can start by connecting our clients with housing services, and move forward to address other issues in their lives, using a case management approach.”
Detroiters who are aging in place will greatly benefit from this new alliance, as will their communities. “Where would we be without seniors?” Edwards asked. “We need to stop discarding the wisdom from our neighborhoods.”
For more information, contact any of the organizations listed here, or go to
Detroit Housing Network Members
Reach Detroit Housing Network agencies by contacting them directly or through www.detroithousingnetwork.org.
Bridging Communities Inc.
6900 McGraw Ave
Detroit, Mich. 48210
Central Detroit Christian CDC
1550 Taylor St
Detroit, Mich. 48206
Jefferson East Inc.
14300 E. Jefferson Ave.
Detroit, Mich. 48215
Matrix Human Services
13560 E McNichols
Detroit, Mich. 48205
U SNAP BAC
14901 E Warren Ave
Detroit, Mich. 48224
Wayne Metro Community Action Agency
7310 Woodward Ave
Detroit, Mich. 48202