Detroit Aims to Break Poverty Cycle

Housing is a significant roadblock for those who cannot create generational wealth. Finding adequate solutions are often met with discussion and debate; making poverty a hot button issue in the United States.  Social programs have been centered around lifting the unfortunate out of desolate situations and making life more affordable. Long term efficacy of these efforts remains to be seen.

In 2017, there is not a state in this country where a person working forty hours on minimum wage can afford a two bedroom apartment. CNBC reported on this issue, highlighting these grim prospects.

That’s according to new research by the National Low Income Housing Coalition covered by The Washington Post. Across the country, it reports, even full-time workers would have to make about or more than twice as much to afford a typical home.

In states such as Alaska, Washington, Colorado, Florida, Virginia, Illinois and most of the Northeast, workers would have to make over $20 an hour. Workers in California, D.C. and Hawaii are the hardest hit by the price of housing: They need to earn a whopping $30, $33 or $35 an hour, respectively, to afford a two-bedroom.

Cass Community Social Services in Detroit, Michigan has spearheaded a revitalizing program for its idling communities. Tiny Homes has been launched to fight poverty by using just that- tiny homes. Homes range from 250-400 square feet and come fully furnished. Located in central Detroit, new constructions will be available for purchase after seven years of renting.

Current services have a limit for what they can help people achieve. Unfortunate situations involve a person getting just far enough ahead to price out of a program, but are still unable to afford basic needs for their families. A program like this should- in theory- lift generations above the poverty line. In addition to providing these tenants with an affordable home; tenants have to attend a mandatory monthly financial literacy class. Classes teach tenants about growing income and home ownership.

Opening doors for the working class that would otherwise remain closed is the highlight for this Detroit community. The advantages that come along with home ownership can change the outlook for current and upcoming generations. The education that will be provided to sustain this lifestyle is a step that is overlooked in other social programs. While longitudinal data on Tiny Homes will provide a better insight to its successes and failures, right now it gives needy families a new lease on life.