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Policy Recommendations


Throughout our research, we have sought to leverage the strengths and unique assets we’ve observed in Banglatown/East Davison Village and Chadsey Condon to shape recommendations that would positively impact all Detroiters—immigrants and long-time residents alike. We aim for this report to influence policy and practices impacting neighborhoods across Detroit and in legacy cities across the U.S.











EXPAND IMMIGRANT HOMEOWNERSHIP



Our research found significant and growing rates of homeownership within these target neighborhoods and found that property purchases, unlike across the city as a whole, were led by owner-occupant purchasers rather than investors. Our focus revealed the existence of community capital that enabled relatively low-income, working-class residents the opportunity to purchase vacant or underutilized housing, improve such housing (often through assistance of friends, relatives and others in their ethnic community) and occupy it.

In Banglatown/Davison we heard of concerns of rising property costs and the lack of vacant housing to support continued growth of such homeownership patterns. Moreover, it has been Global Detroit’s experience working with immigrant residents in the Chadsey-Condon neighborhood that the supply of vacant housing also is shrinking, making it difficult to continue to access such opportunities. We believe that the Detroit Land Bank Authority should invest resources to identify properties and policies that prioritize such owner-occupant acquisition and rehab opportunities. To date, the DLBA has had success in implementing programs to target owner-occupant sales through auction in the most stable neighborhoods, as well as the sale of vacant side lots to residents across the city. Similar priority should be given to piloting a program for owner-occupant purchase in working-class neighborhoods with stabilizing populations. We believe the passage of Proposal N in Detroit, in addition to American Rescue Plan funds, create ample opportunity to funds such pilot efforts.





Figure 1: Purchase Mortgages as a percentage of total recorded sales, 2008 to 2019


Additionally, we recommend development of a number of homeownership and support tools that would assist both immigrant and long-time residents aspiring to become

homeowners. These recommendations include:

  • Provide housing and homeownership services in Arabic and Bangla.

  • Create small loan and grant funding pools to support owner-occupant rehab efforts.

  • Supply clear information and technical support to individuals acquiring and rehabilitating properties, including lists of vetted contractors, trainings on rehab topics, subsidizing a pool of contractors to provide project advice and ensuring such services are accessible in multiple languages.

  • Develop a homeownership support center in Bangatown/Davison.









IMPROVE ACCESS TO JOBS, WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION, TRAINING & CAREER DEVELOPMENT SERVICES



A primary complaint from residents in Banglatown/Davison was that manufacturing jobs available to them were 45 minutes away in suburban communities and that local employers were not open to hiring them. Whether this is a result of limited English proficiency of workers, implicit bias exhibited by employers or lack of familiarity among immigrant residents with hiring opportunities and processes, inclusive hiring should be a priority for the City and local workforce development programs if Detroit is going to more firmly root its immigrant communities and not lose them to the suburban communities closer to work opportunities.



































SUPPORT THE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF IMMIGRANT SMALL BUSINESSES




















Our findings, especially around Conant Avenue in Banglatown/Davison, were consistent with other research nationally suggesting that immigrant business ownership can be a powerful tool to reinvigorating neighborhood retail districts and providing essential services and job opportunities in disinvested communities. Expanding access to capital and investing in trusted connectors, while investing in greater coordination to create more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem will help deepen the impact that these businesses have in Detroit and beyond.




































BUILD IMMIGRANT INCLUSION INTO ASSET-BUILDING PROGRAMS, POLICIES AND SERVICES





Addressing the economic needs of immigrant Detroiters through asset-building strategies (free tax preparation, individual development accounts, credit building and financial literacy programs, home repair programs, LIHEAP assistance, etc.) is important to sustaining immigrant communities in Detroit and other similarly situated urban communities.

It is said that Detroit is resource rich but connection poor. In other words, there are many programs and resources available to residents, business owners and community organizations, but far too often the people with the greatest need or who could benefit the most have the greatest difficulty obtaining information and gaining access to those resources.

Building language access and cultural competency into those programs is a starting point. Using “trusted connectors” to help residents access programs and services—while assisting providers in efforts to connect with new immigrant clients is another critical strategy. Ultimately, the most robust asset-building program outcomes usually come when mainstream providers, advocacy organizations, government, policymakers and institutions build inclusion into their systems, strategies, policies, practices and programs from the outset.














Global Detroit 2021

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