06/01 Building up tiny houses to break down asset inequality

A tiny house model.
Cass Community Social Services of Detroit
Soon, tiny houses will start popping up in Detroit. Construction on the first house is slated to begin within two weeks. The goal is to provide homes for some of the city’s homeless, senior citizens and students who have aged out of foster care.

Cass Community Social Services of Detroit is behind the project. Executive Director Reverend Faith Fowler said the plan is to build 25 houses on the vacant land surrounding the community center. That’s provided volunteer help and funding come through.

Hear Fowler talk about what this project could mean for people of low-income below.

Fowler said these houses will provide people with low incomes a valuable asset – one they can eventually sell, use as collateral, or leave to their families.

She said lately you hear a lot of talk about income inequality, “but next to none about asset inequality.”

“And without an asset, people easily slip into and stay in poverty,” she said. “And so if we can find ways for them to create a financial safety net, maybe through homes, maybe through savings accounts – I mean, there are many ways to approach it – but I really wanted to do something that had a long-term impact on poor people so that they could enjoy part of the American dream.”

The plan is to have a person rent the home for seven years at a “very modest amount” based on house size.

“We then will act as the landlord during that time, using their rent money to pay their taxes, their insurance, their water, their security system,” Fowler said.

After seven years of renting, the resident will own the house.

“They won’t have to pay rent anymore and so they’ll be able to use that money to pay the things we were having to pay,” she said. “And so we think we’ve set them up for success.”

Read more – http://michiganradio.org/post/building-tiny-houses-break-down-asset-inequality#stream/0


Elaine Walker