While we've seen affordable housing develop in new construction and rehabbed apartment buildings across the city in recent years, a new program is looking at the many mixed-use buildings that have vacant space. Owners of two-story buildings in Southwest Detroit with commercial space on the first floor and vacant apartments on the second now have incentive to renovate.

The Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA) along with the City of Detroit Housing and Revitalization Department (HRD) has launched a Second-Floor Residential Grant Program, which will reimburse property owners up to $10,000 to renovate apartments. Property owners can apply for the funding until March 31.

“The City of Detroit is always looking for ways to create affordable housing and opportunities for Detroiters,” said Julie Schneider, director of HRD. “This great program does both, by converting unused space into affordable places for Detroiters to live, reinvigorating our commercial corridors and helping to stabilize income for local property owners.”

An earlier pilot of the program with the SBDA and the Kresge Foundation resulted in 12 new apartments. This program could bring another 24 apartments online, all of which would be affordable housing. Rents would be between $780 and $1,250, or about 50 to 80 percent Area Median Income. The program is part of the city's $203 million plan for affordable housing announced last summer.

The properties must be within Southwest Detroit: West Vernor Highway from Woodmere to 15th Street; Springwells Street from West Vernor to the West Fisher Service Drive; Junction from Michigan Avenue to Konkel Street; and Bagley Avenue from the West Fisher Service Drive to 25th Street. While the current program is concentrated in this area, it could expand to other neighborhoods in the future. 

Property owners can learn more and apply here.