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Homes for All! Support the Housing Trust Fund

Homes for All! Support the Housing Trust Fund

Detroit is enjoying national attention for its revitalization efforts, but not everyone is benefitting equally. Corporations and investors from around the world have shifted enormous amounts of investment into Detroit.

Detroit is experiencing an explosion of investment. Investors are purchasing land and buildings from the City, the City is investing money in infrastructure improvements in selected neighborhoods, and developers are investing money in rehabilitating buildings for trendy new restaurants, luxurious apartments, hotels, condos, and upscale boutiques. The revitalization of Detroit’s housing market includes building and renovating mostly market-rate housing that the average long-time Detroiter can’t afford to live in.

However, the one thing that Detroit has not been willing to invest in is permanently affordable housing for current residents to continue living in their neighborhoods as housing costs begin rise. 

Right now, the average Detroiter spends 60% of their monthly income on housing. This is one of the highest rental burdens in the country. One in five Detroit renters face eviction every year. That makes Detroit one of the top 10 cities for annual evictions. In order to reverse these trends that threaten to displace long-term Detroiters the City must commit to protecting and creating quality permanent affordable homes and apartments for the Detroit families who need them most.

The Mayor of Detroit has created many talking points about affordable housing. These include statements such as: “We will not support development that moves Detroiters out so others can move in” and “Every area of Detroit will have a place for people of all incomes.”

To honor these commitments the City of Detroit must take action by creating and funding a housing plan for constructing and protecting a substantial amount of high-quality affordable homes for the Detroit families who need them most. This must be done simultaneously with the city’s redevelopment efforts. This is the only way to reduce the threat of displacement.

For these reasons, Detroit People’s Platform is joining with allies across the country to launch the Homes for All Campaign here in Detroit to demand the following:

• Commitment to fund the creation and protection of permanent and deeply affordable housing 

• Increased renter protections

• Sufficient revenue stream to support the Housing Trust Fund

Detroit People’s Platform will be meeting with residents and renters across the city to make sure our voices are heard around this critical policy issue. 

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Fare Justice Not Fare Increases

Fare Justice Not Fare Increases

DDOT Undergoes Major Changes in September: Restored Access to Woodward in downtown Detroit and Proposed Fare Increases

Keep Woodward on Woodward Campaign a success! 

On September 5th, the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) restored the Woodward #53 now referred to as #4 to its direct route on Woodward Ave all the way through downtown Detroit. The Detroit People’s Platform Transit Justice Team organized the “Keep Woodward on Woodward” campaign collecting signatures from DDOT bus riders 

The campaign demanded the restoration of the Woodward bus through downtown Detroit. This is a major win for residents, restaurant workers, security guards, custodians, and others who work, shop, and access social and government services in downtown Detroit.

We thank the petition signers for their support and the volunteers of the Transit Justice Team for making this win possible!

Fare Justice Not Fare Increases

In early September, DDOT proposed a new fare structure. This proposed fare restructuring will increase the base fare by 33% from $1.50 to $2.00 and will increase the prices of bus passes compared to the current system. The new fare structure will eliminate transfers and replace it with a 4-hour pass for access to any DDOT and SMART bus. It also eliminates the $0.50 fee when a DDOT bus rider transfers to the SMART bus system. Most importantly, all passes under this new proposed fare structure will be rolling passes which can be bought at any time and are only valid once activated. For example, if one purchases a 7-day pass on Tuesday and uses it that day, it will expire 7 days from Tuesday. 

Bus riders still cannot count on DDOT bus service for on-time and reliable access to work, school, medical appointments and worship. In Detroit, families and individuals are facing high rents, losing their homes to tax foreclosures, and experiencing water-shutoffs across the city at an alarming rate.

This is not the time to raise bus fares.  

Detroit Peoples Platform Calls for DDOT bus riders to take the following actions:  

• Call your city councilmember and demand that council vote down the proposed bus fare increases. Urge council to adopt a low-income fare policy instead. This low income fare policy would allow low-income Detroit residents to pay the same reduced fares that seniors, students, and persons with disabilities currently pay. 
• Attend city council meetings and offer public comment. Plan to arrive by 9:30am on Mondays and Tuesdays on the 13th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center at 2 Woodward Ave. DPP urges bus riders to leave comments with DDOT regarding the proposed fare increase.  

Detroit City Council main line: (313) 224-3443
Detroit Department of Transportation: (313) 933-1300 or email at: ddotcomment@detroitmi.gov

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Dear Ford, If you want to create tomorrow together, let’s get real today with a legitimate CBA.

Dear Ford, If you want to create tomorrow together, let’s get real today with a legitimate CBA.

October 14, 2018
Detroit – The Equitable Detroit Coalition has released an open letter to Ford Motor Co. This letter challenges Ford to go further and agree to a CBA worthy of a $17 billion multinational corporation.

Ford Motor Co. has a net worth of nearly $17 billion. They want $239 million in tax breaks for their $740 million project in Corktown. They want to “fast track” an abatement of $104 million in city taxes over 35 years to catch another $18.7 million in tax breaks from the state by the end of October.

CALL TO ACTION:

Monday – Call Council

On Monday, October 15th, we are asking Detroit People’s Platform members and supporters to call their District Council Member and their ‘at large’ Council Members, Council President Brenda Jones and Council Member Janee Ayers. 

Tuesday – Attend Council Meeting and make Public Comment

On Tuesday, October 16th, Detroit City Council will vote on the Community Benefits Agreement for the Ford Corktown project. The meeting will begin at 10am. We advise people to arrive early to locate parking, get a seat and a public comment card.

Share the “Dear Ford” video

Please use #DearFord to share on social media.

Share the “Dear Ford” letter

Dear Ford Motor Co.,

We are the Equitable Detroit Coalition (EDC) the city-wide Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) coalition representing a constituency of nearly 100,000 Detroiters who voted “YES” on Proposal A. Proposal A mandated strong and legally binding Community Benefit Agreements on large projects that receive public subsidy.

To begin, we acknowledge the hard work of community members and the Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC) with the Ford Motor Company’s Corktown Project. We also recognize the pressure on the NAC and the community to cooperate and not offend Ford given the unique role the corporation has played in Detroit and Southeast Michigan for the previous 100 years. Yet, we would be remiss not to lift up the fact that the fortunes of Ford Motor Company and the intergenerational wealth of the Ford family were, in part. built on the backs of labor and Detroit workers.

The tensions that many Detroiters hold regarding corporate incentives is well known and documented. In a perfect world these incentives would not exist. Sadly, the political reality is that you, Ford Motor Company, will prevail in your request for $240 million dollars in public tax subsidies successfully diverting millions of dollars from much needed community improvements for decades to come. The community asked for up to $75 million in funds to support a broad array of community benefits including affordable housing for the most vulnerable, neighborhood and infrastructure improvements, workforce training, scholarships and other benefits. Your response was to offer a package of $10 million. This doesn’t go far enough.

Further, we want to remind you that while Ford is preparing for a successful future, many residents live in present day Detroit, where real people are being negatively impacted as part of the changes this and other private economic development projects bring with them. Less than a mile away from your project there are households where families with children exist without water, are threatened with housing displacement, and possibly face forced removal from their community. The median income around the project area is only $23,160.

On behalf of our constituent base, we urge Ford representatives to return to the table and renegotiate a real and legally-binding CBA with community. We challenge Ford Motor Co. to go further and agree to a CBA that is worthy of a $17 billion, multinational corporation. If Ford wants to create tomorrow together, let’s get real today with a legitimate CBA.

Sincerely,
The Equitable Detroit Coalition

Download the letterDearFord

 

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Charter Revision Candidate Night – Thursday, October 25 6 pm – 7:30 pm

Charter Revision Candidate Night – Thursday, October 25 6 pm – 7:30 pm

Election 2018 – Vote November 6th

CHARTER REVISION COMMISSION CANDIDATE NIGHT

In the August Primary Detroiters voted on whether or not to “open” and revise the City Charter. The City Charter can be likened to the U.S. or Michigan Constitution. Proposal R was successful by only a slight margin of 184 votes. Since it passed, Charter Revision Commission Candidates will be on the ballot in November. There will be 16 candidates on the ballot for this 9 seat commission.

Learning as much a possible about these candidates before the election is important because they will shape the 3 year revision process. 

Thursday, October 25
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm – FREE! 

Wellness Plan Building
First Floor Cafeteria
7700 Second Ave @ Pallister
Detroit, 48202

A light dinner will be served at 6:00 and the forum will start at 6:30 pm.

Charter Revision Commission Candidate Night Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/737546463257396/

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Meet the Judges Night – Wed, October 17 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Meet the Judges Night – Wed, October 17 5:30 – 7:00 pm


 

 

 

Election 2018 – Vote November 6th

Meet the Judges Night

The 36th District Court Judges have a great deal of power and their decisions impact our communities and our livelihoods. There will be 10 seats on your ballot in the general election on November 6th.  We will be specifically asking questions around landlord/tenant court.

Wednesday, October 17
5:30 – 7:00 pm – FREE! 

Wellness Plan Building
First Floor Cafeteria
7700 Second Ave @ Pallister
Detroit, 48202

A light dinner will be served at 5:30 and the forum will start at 6:00 pm.

Facebook for Meet the Judges: https://www.facebook.com/events/923120514554257/

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Detroit People’s Platform Launch “Homes for All” Campaign

Detroit People’s Platform
Launch “Homes for All” Campaign

September 17, 2018
Contact: Amina Kirk
313.338.9396
amina@detroitpeoplesplatform.org

Detroit  is enjoying national attention for its revitalization efforts, but not everyone is benefiting equally. The revitalization of the housing market includes building and renovating mostly luxury housing that the average long-time Detroiter can’t afford to live in. 

On average, Detroiters pay 60% of their monthly income for housing, double the recommended 30%  and one of the highest in the nation.1

As more and more high rent units are being developed,  affordable housing is disappearing in Detroit and many of our families are experiencing high rates of eviction.2   

Today, Detroit People’s Platform will launch our Homes For All Campaign to address Detroit’s housing crisis.  And one of our first areas of focus will be the Affordable Housing Development & Preservation Fund, a Housing Trust Fund established as part of the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance in September of last year. 

Detroit People’s Platform, along with other housing advocates, created the Detroit Housing Trust Fund Coalition in 2015 to address the housing needs of low income Detroiters. The Task Force worked for over two years with then Council Member Mary Sheffield for the passage of this ordinance. 

This Housing Trust Fund will assist low income Detroiters with rental assistance, funds for home maintenance and repair for low income home owners, and assistance with relocation. The Housing Trust Fund is funded by the city of Detroit based on a small percent of annual city commercial real estate sales.  

The Detroit Housing Trust Fund Coalition was promised Detroiters would receive $2 Million Dollars to get the trust fund started, and assistance to secure additional funding. The Task Force is disappointed this $2 Million Dollars promised was removed from the budget. 

The Detroit Housing Trust Fund Coalition supports Council President Pro Tempore’s initiative to secure funding for this incredible legislation. This tool has worked to protect affordable housing in cities all over the country. The residents of Detroit deserve the same amount of funding for our Housing Trust Fund that the city leaders of St. Louis, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh provided for their long-time residents.

In the coming months, Detroit People’s Platform and members of the Housing Trust Fund Coalition will organize with Detroiters to demand deeper funding for the housing trust fund in response to the critical housing needs for low income Detroiters. 

  1. http://www.detroitmi.gov/Portals/0/docs/HousingAndRev/HRandA%20Detroit%20Inclusionary%20Housing%20Study.pdf
  2.  https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/special-reports/2017/10/05/detroit-evictions-threaten-neighborhoods-rentals/106315064/
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Subscribe to the People’s Platform NEWS

Subscribe to the People’s Platform NEWS

Detroit People’s Platform print copies of the People’s Platform News 3 times a year.
We also send out emails about once a week to keep members and supporters informed.
Please subscribe to keep up with our work and participate.

 

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Ford Let’s raise the stakes

Ford Let’s raise the stakes

“If it’s hard to understand how a multinational corporation can soak a struggling school district for tax breaks, it’s even harder to understand how government officials can justify foregoing tax revenue now in exchange for convoluted estimates of future employment: New jobs, construction jobs, indirect jobs.” Nancy Kaffer, Detroit Free Press 9/12/2018 

Ford Motor Co. has a net worth of nearly $17 billion. They want $239 million in tax breaks for their $740 million project in Corktown. They want to “fast track” an abatement of $104 million in city taxes over 35 years to catch another $18.7 million in tax breaks from the state by the end of October. For this kind of money and from this kind of corporation we want a REAL CBA.

Ford Motor Co. is going through the process outlined by the Community Benefit Ordinance, including a series of engagement activities with residents who live in the impacted area of Southwest Detroit. But Ford Motor Co. representatives also read the City Council’s Legislative Policy Division report on the so-called Community Benefit Ordinance. Ford Motor Co. know there is no mandate for a real CBA. 

Detroiters also know there is no way the city isn’t going to grant Ford Motor Co. the requested tax abatements of $104 million in city taxes over 35 years. That is money that could go for public services like fixing the pipes in our schools, enhanced senior and youth services, increased funding for libraries, parks, street repair and adequate snow removal, lawn mowing, etc. 

Ford Motor Co. promotes their reputation as a socially responsible corporation. They claim they want to be a good corporate neighbor. Let’s raise the stakes. Ford Motor Co. can willfully enter into a REAL Community Benefit Agreement, one that will confirm their desire to be a good neighbor. For this kind of money and from this kind of corporation we want a REAL CBA in which Ford honors the community’s priority recommendations that will be presented by the Neighborhood Advisory Council. We’ll be watching.

Media:

Detroit should call Ford’s bluff on $240M train station rehab

Ford seeking fast-tracked tax breaks for train station (Behind firewall)

[bctt tweet=”For this kind of money and from this kind of corporation we want a REAL CBA.” via=”no”]

 

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Transit Win! Keep Woodward on Woodward

Transit Win! Keep Woodward on Woodward

The Detroit People’s Platform – Transit Justice Team is very pleased to announce a major victory for DDOT bus riders who use the Woodward #53 bus!

In 2017, we formed the “Keep Woodward on Woodward” campaign to restore the DDOT Woodward #53 bus along Woodward through downtown Detroit. This was in response to a detour that placed DDOT bus riders away from Woodward Ave, as a result of QLine construction. The detour was supposed to be temporary but there were no immediate plans to restore Woodward bus access through downtown Detroit.

In support of the original online petition to restore Woodward bus service through downtown Detroit, the transit justice team mobilized an advisory petition campaign, “Keep Woodward on Woodward” and collected over 570 petition signatures and delivered them to the Director of DDOT.

Link to the online petition: https://www.change.org/p/give-us-back-our-street-detroiters-need-the-woodward-bus-on-woodward-not-blocks-away-on-cass-how-far-are-eastsiders-expected-to-walk-to-get-downtown

We are very pleased to announce that we were successful in our campaign and we are very grateful to the bus riders and petition signers who’ve supported our campaign to Keep Woodard on Woodward. Starting September 1st, the Woodward #53 bus will travel directly on Woodward all the way through downtown Detroit. Please see the attached map for more details.

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City Council LPD Report on Community Benefits Ordinance Amendments

City Council LPD Report on Community Benefits Ordinance Amendments

Below is an excerpt from the full LPD report that includes the Equitable Detroit Coalitions Recommendation for Amendments. Download the full report.

City of Detroit
CITY COUNCIL
LEGISLATIVE POLICY DIVISION
208 Coleman A. Young Municipal Center Detroit, Michigan 48226
Phone : (313) 224-4946 Fax: (313) 224-4336

To: The Honorable Detroit City Council
From: David Whittaker Legislative Policy Division (LPD) Staff
Date: July 23, 2018
RE: Community Benefits Ordinance Amendments

As Council Members know, Detroit voters approved a ballot measure designated Proposition B, as the attached alternative “Community Benefits Ordinance” in the November 8, 2016 election. Pursuant to Section 12-109 of the City Charter, such an ordinance adopted through initiative proceedings may be amended or repealed by the City, after a period of twelve (12) months after the date of the election at which it was adopted. Therefore, if Council wishes to amend the existing “Community Benefits Ordinance”, it is free to do so at this time.

The City’s limited experience to date with implementation of the ordinance designated as Proposition B has generated calls for further reforms. In LPD’s judgment, the community engagement procedures specified in this ordinance would benefit from amendments intended, in general, to provide more time for Neighborhood Advisory Councils (NAC) established by the ordinance to become informed about the development proposals at issue and formulate their proposals on behalf of the community, and to require that more useful, relevant, timely and comprehensive information be provided to the NAC throughout the development project. Also, the name of the ordinance should be changed to reflect its actual terms as a local law requiring community engagement in the course of large developments that are supported by public money, in order to avoid misleading the public regarding the scope and purpose of this ordinance. 1

1 Other, more substantive changes – such as the threshold amounts for public support of private investment, or even the addition of required benefits via enforceable contracts with community advocates, as originally proposed in Proposition A – beyond the community engagement procedures called for in the instant ordinance, would of course be within Council’s authority. Although LPD believes that a full discussion of “community benefits” in connection with the ordinance adopted by the voters as Proposition B would be beyond the scope of this referral, it should be noted that to date the procedures adopted as a result  of  this ballot initiative and the ordinance have not resulted in any substantial  community  benefits,  if indeed  they can be credited with generating any community benefits at all. This evaluation, based on LPD staffs ordinance-mandated participation in the community engagement processes established by the ordinance to date, in tum leads to the question of whether or not the significant staff time and other resources devoted to these procedures can be justified, for a process that effectively produces little or no benefit. In addition to improving the accuracy of the ordinance’s title, substituting the word ··engagement” for “benefits” in the name of the ordinance would therefore be expected to result in substantial savings of staff time and other resources that could be devoted to adequate public community engagement, rather than a fruit less, hollow and impractical discussion of nonexistent bene fits.

LPD recommends the following changes to the current so-called “Community Benefits Ordinance”:

1) That the title be amended to “Community Engagement Ordinance” (Change the word “Benefits” under Article XII to the word “Engagement”. In Section 14-12-1 (b), change the language to “This article shall be known as the Detroit Community Engagement Ordinance”.) The administration has indicated that the benefits to the community from development deals arise from the deals themselves, as negotiated by the administration. On the other hand, the American Planning Association and others in the national community benefits movement define “Community Benefits Agreements” as enforceable legal contracts, between developers who receive tax support for their investments, and affected community representatives. Changing the name of the ordinance would reflect its actual terms, which do not call for legally enforceable “Community Benefits Agreements” in the accepted sense of the term.

2) That the number of community meetings be amended from stating “at least one” to ”no fewer than five.” (In Section l 4–l 2-3(a)( l ), change “at least one” to “no fewer than five, unless a majority of the NAC deems otherwise”.)

3) That the procedures for the selection of the NAC be revised, so that at the inaugural meeting an overview of the process and presentation from the developer are given, and that community members nominated to the NAC present at the second meeting, prior to a vote on the members of the NAC, rather than at the conclusion of the first meeting. (Change the entire subsection 14-12-3(c)(l) to read as follows: “At the first meeting of the NAC, the developer shall provide an overview of the community engagement process, and the details of the proposed development. At the second meeting of the NAC, any proposed NAC member(s) nominated by residents shall be permitted to present their ideas and suggestions regarding the community engagement process and the proposed development, before the members of the NAC are elected”.)

4) That a list of alternate NAC members be generated and maintained by the Planning and Development Department, in the event that an elected or appointed NAC member is unable to fulfill their duties. (Add a new subsection l4-l2-3(b)(6) to read as follows: “The Planning and Development Department shall maintain a list of  alternate NAC members to be appointed in the event that an elected or appointed NAC member is, for whatever reason, unable to serve on the NAC”.)

5) That attendance at NAC meetings for all elected and appointed NAC members is mandatory. Should a member fall to attend an alternate may be selected. (Add the following language to subsection 14-12-3(b)(5): “Attendance at all NAC meetings by all elected and appointed NAC members shall be mandatory. If a member fails to attend an NAC meeting, an alternate may be appointed by the NAC as a permanent replacement member”.)

6) That at the inaugural meeting that the developer present “how” their development qualified with specificity, i.e., total investment amount, and which tax incentives arc being sought. (Change the entire subsection l4-l2-3(c)(2) to read as follows: “At the first meeting of the NAC, the developer shall provide a specific explanation of how the proposed development qualifies for public support of investment, the total amount of private investment involved, and the statutory authorizations and amounts of all tax abatements or incentives sought for the proposed development”.)

7) If the proposed development includes residential housing, that at least 20% affordability at 80% Area Median Income (AMI) be incorporated into a single-site development. (Add a new section 14-12-3(7): “If the proposed development includes residential housing, then at least 20% of the units for a single site shall be designated as affordable housing, defined as affordable by those earning at least 80% of Area Median Income (AMI)”.)

8) That at the second meeting of the NAC, the NAC members are provided with an informational package from the developer detailing the level of environmental remediation the site may need, including but not limited to: Phase I and Phase II environmental studies (if available), Commercial Rehabilitation Facility District application (if applicable), Obsolete Property Rehabilitation District application (if applicable), and Brownfield Redevelopment District application (if applicable). (Add a new section 14-12-3(c)(4): “At the second meeting of the NAC, the developer  shall provide NAC members with an informational package detailing the level of environmental remediation the site may need, including but not limited to: Phase [ and Phase lI environmental studies (if available), Commercial  Rehabilitation  Facility  District application (if applicable), Obsolete Property Rehabilitation District application (if applicable), and Brownfield Redevelopment District application (if applicable)”.

9) That a webpage be created and maintained detailing the specifics of the development along with a projected timeline on the Planning and Development Departments website for each development project subject to the ordinance, which also contains the contact information for the POD project manager and general contact information for the developer. (Add a new section 14-12-3(c)(S): “The Planning and Development Department shall create and maintain a page on the City’s web site detailing the specifics of the development, along with a projected timeline, for each development project subject to this article. The web page shall also contain the contact information for the PDD project manager and general contact information for the developer”.)

The Equitable Detroit Coalition, sponsors of the original Proposition A Community Benefits Ordinance that was defeated by Proposition B, has provided the attached critical report regarding their observations of the first six projects subjected to the ordinance. Based on these experiences, they propose 12 amendments that would, in effect, convert the Proposition B community engagement ordinance into a “true” community benefits ordinance, featuring reforms like enforceable community benefits agreements and independent community participation without mediation by City government. As noted in footnote l, LPD understands these substantive transformations of the Proposition A community engagement policy to be beyond the scope of this particular referral. However, such further reaching amendments would be within Council’s authority, and if Council Members seek any particular amendments, whether suggested by the Equitable Detroit Coalition or anyone else, they could be drafted in response to specific referral of those items to the Law Department and/or LPD.

If Council has any other questions or concerns regarding this subject, LPD will be happy to provide further research and analysis upon request.