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Tiny homes, rented to Detroiters making less than $15,000 a year, continue to sprout

Tiny homes, rented to Detroiters making less than $15,000 a year, continue to sprout

The project continues to expand in Dexter-Linwood

Tiny homes are proving to be a big step toward homeownership for many low-income Detroit residents. 

In 2016, Cass Community Social Services decided to tackle the shortage of affordable housing by purchasing 25 parcels of land from the City of Detroit to create homes ranging from 250 to 400 square feet. Each home is uniquely designed with different colors and design elements. 

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“It’s great to see city of Detroit residents build equity and have a piece of the pie,” said Rev. Faith Fowler, executive director of CCSS. 

Within the first phase of the project, CCSS has built 19 tiny homes along four blocks of the Dexter-Linwood neighborhood, specifically off of Woodrow Wilson and Elmhurst streets. As of now, the houses are fit for individuals and couples but homes in phase 2 of the project will include ADA certified housing and homes for families. 

To start, individuals that make between $7,000 and $15,000 annually will rent their tiny homes. After seven years of residency, they are given the opportunity to own the home and the 30 x 100 foot plot the home is built on. Tenants simply pay their rent and electric bills and CCSS uses that money to pay for property taxes, insurance, water bills and more.  

Each tiny house is adopted by an organization. Funding for the project has come from private donations from the community. The newest six homes were funded from the support of Flagstar Bank, The Sheckell Family and youth from Birmingham First United Methodist Church, who raised $40,000 for their home.  

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CCSS’ goal is to construct 25 more homes in the area in hopes of bringing back a sense of community and neighborhood. “A former resident who lived here when houses were blighted had tears in her eyes about the revitalization,” Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan CEO Michael Stoskopf said. 

Epitec has adopted the final six homes of this phase. The STEM-focused staffing organization decided to forego a huge party to celebrate their 40th anniversary and use the money to help build tiny homes with CCSS. “We are so honored to be apart of this and to help break the cycle of poverty for these homeowners,” Epitec President Josie Sheppard said.