Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’

More Updates on Michigan’s Affordable Housing Crisis

Today is a beautiful day in downtown Grand Rapids. The photo below actually from yesterday. There is something about the sun that just puts me in a good mood.

A few days ago I did not have a sunny disposition. I was in court during a landlord/tenant docket. I’ll be honest – it was a depressing scene.  Many of the people in the courtroom were in a sad condition – one lady was visibly intoxicated.IMG_1570

Grand Rapids’ Housing Crisis

This morning I read an article on how the Rental Housing Market Leads to Homelessness in Grand Rapids

Clearly, Grand Rapids, and other parts of the State and Nation have an affordable housing crisis. I have previously offered my own perspective, both as a lawyer representing real estate developers/investors, and as Board Chairman at Mel Trotter Ministries.

A Community Problem – requires Community Collaboration

Recently Mel Trotter Ministries announced that it was partnering with 3:11 Youth Housing and the NAACP to provide housing for homeless males ages 18-24.

This effort could not have happened without collaboration between community stakeholders. It also couldn’t have happened without real estate owners willing to put “purpose above profit”.

There are other examples of social enterprises taking action to address affordable housing. One community partner is Pastor Jim Davis and his company “Purpose Properties

“The mission of Purpose Properties is to “raise enough money from local foundations and philanthropists to buy market-rate and affordable rental properties in the city.”

It will take all community stakeholders to do their part – businesses, churches, government, and non-profits.

The question we should all ask ourselves: Am I working to build a better community?
Legal Updates – Bills and Lawsuits.


A few months back I wrote about a Michigan House Bill introduced that would repeal Michigan’s prohibition on rent control. This Bill seemed to be a “gut response” to the affordable housing crisis that we are facing in Michigan and all across the United States.

Other local governments across the U.S. are exploring legislative avenues to address the housing crisis.

A few days ago, Representative Stephanie Chang introduced a few other Bills on Affordable Housing.

On May 31, 2017 House Bill 4686 was introduced that would allow local government  to “adopt an ordinance to limit the rent paid by senior citizens and individuals with a disability to 50% of their household incomes.”

Tie-barred to that Bill was House Bill 4687  which would prohibit local government from enacting, maintaining, or enforcing “an ordinance or resolution that would have the effect of  controlling the amount of rent charged for leasing private resident.”

Representative Chang also spoke on the issue of Affordable Housing at a Detroit Housing Summit a few days ago at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.


DOJ sues City of Jacksonville for refusing to allow development of permanent supportive housing for individuals with disabilities.

You can check out the press release from yesterday – Where Cities Can Get in Trouble with Fair Housing Laws

Yesterday, the Department of Justice issued a Press Release concerning an agreement it reached with the City of Jacksonville, Florida. Apparently, the DOJ sued the City concerning “allegations that the city violated the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act when it refused to all ow the development of permanent supportive housing for individuals with disabilities in its Springfield neighborhood.”

As part of the settlement, the City has agreed to “establish a $1.5 million grant to develop permanent supportive housing in the city for people with disabilities.”



Twitter: @JeshuaTLauka



Detroit’s Blight Removal: Opportunity For Social Entrepreneurs to Utilize Crowdfunding?

December 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Today’s Detroit Free Press had an article about Detroit’s blight removal campaign – see it here

The article reports that through various avenues, including the Detroit Land Bank Authority:

Detroit now demolishes 200 eyesores a week,

The article goes on to report all of the challenges ahead for Detroit, including a vast amount of blighted properties still needing to be demolished, scarce trained workers, etc..

The article ends with a question: “But perhaps the biggest question confronting Detroit’s blight campaign is what to do with all the cleared land”

I answer that question with a question of my own (lawyers do that): could this be a viable avenue for local crowdfunding?

Are there groups of individuals, let’s call them “social entrepreneurs”, in Michigan who would come together to revitalize a community, one neighborhood at a time?

Maybe these entrepreneurs are investors who would be willing to work and live in the community they revitalize.

These investors wouldn’t need tens of thousands of dollars of their own funds to make a difference.

Michigan’s intrastate crowdfunding exemption (Michigan Invests Locally Exemption) limits these crowdfunding projects to a maximum of $2,000,000 per 12 months and investors are limited to $10,000 each (unless an accredited investor) – so the deal size is relatively limited.

I like Attorney Anthoni Zeloi’s proposed bill for Illinois, capping projects to $20,000,000, you can read his proposed bill, and rationale at his blog here

Could you imagine living in a neighborhood where you invested real money into, and could say:

I helped build this neighborhood


I helped revitalize Detroit“.

Calling all Michigan Social Entrepreneurs to weigh in.

What do you think?