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Amid high inflation, organizations aim to help Detroiters facing eviction

By: Kim Russell, August 2, 2022

DETROIT (WXYZ) — We’ve been reporting on skyrocketing inflation and rising rents. And now, people at a Detroit apartment complex are wondering what they are going to do after getting eviction notices taped to their doors.

“It makes me wonder what corner I am going to be living on or what dumpster I am going to clean out to live in around here,” said Keith Yeary, who is facing eviction.

Yeary says he is up to date on rent at an apartment complex on Greenfield near McNichols roads in Detroit. So, a notice taped to his and his neighbors doors last Wednesday came as a shock. It orders them out, evicted in 30 days.

“It’s very hard to get out in 30 days if you don’t have money to do it,” one resident said.

Another resident said, “Where am I going to go?

A third resident said they called more than two dozen places to live in the area.

“Any of them are $700 to $900 a month,” the resident said.

We reached out to Mayor Mike Duggan’s office, and the city started planning a response.

“The good news is we actually come out to you,” said David Bowser, the associate director Housing Redevelopment with the city of Detroit.

The city this month announced a $203 million affordable housing strategy that aims to help protect Detroiters from rising rent costs.

“What we do is interface with landlords, so people can stay in place. And if they do need to be relocated, we provide relocation services,” Bowser said.

Courtney Hierlihy is Wayne metropolitan’s department director for the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA). She says there are things people facing eviction should know.

“If you are a tenant who has received an eviction notice, the first thing you should do is attend your court date,” Hierlihy said.

Hierlihy says many people don’t know some assistance opens up for tenants once they appear in court facing eviction. She directs the CERA program at Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency.

She and others who work to help those facing homelessness say the pandemic funding showed that emergency rent assistance can benefit landlords, tenants and communities by preventing some homelessness.

As of July 31, Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency has approved a total of 31,177 applications, totaling over $232 million in rental assistance. Of those applications, 16,935 are in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park. Another 14, 252 application are considered “Out-Wayne.”

Specific county CERA numbers can be found on the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s website.

“COVID emergency rental assistance has been able to keep people housed. We are very worried about seeing more people become homeless now,” said Kirsten Elliott, the vice president of Development at Community Housing Network, Inc.

For now, these residents are wondering what is next, hoping to have a home.

“We’re all low income and everything else,” Yeary said.

Tasha Berngetty said, “All of us are terrified that we have to be up out of here and none of us have anywhere to go.”

7 Action News will be following up to find out what resources are available to these families.

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