The pressing need for affordable housing in Ann Arbor, the team behind Ypsi’s new HP Jacobs mural, and boy reporter Tom Perkins… on this weekend’s episode of the Saturday Six Pack

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In 2014, Washtenaw County contracted with Virginia-based consultant Rob Krupicka to study housing affordability across the County, and, in January of this year, he presented his findings in a report, which he delivered to officials in Ann Arbor. In his report, Krupicka warned of the instability that would invariably result if, as Ann Arbor continued to grow more wealthy, low-income individuals were increasingly pushed east, toward Ypsilanti. “You are increasingly becoming a county with an area of concentrated wealth and an area of the opposite,” said Krupicka when presenting his findings, and the resulting “balance problem” between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, he warned, would increase instability throughout the County if not dealt with immediately.

[Read Krupicka’s report: Affordable Housing and Economic Equity Analysis]

Krupica’s central point was clear: We are fast approaching the tipping point, and immediate action is necessary. “The challenge,” he said, “is that Ypsilanti is getting close to 30 percent poverty, which puts it in company with some cities that you really don’t want to be in company with… When you get close to 30 percent or more in poverty, your ability to recover from that becomes almost impossible.” And this, he says, would not just be devastating for Ypsilanti, but for the rest of Washtenaw County.

In order to right the ship, and restore balance, Krupica called for the building of 3,139 “non-student affordable rental units” over the next 20 years in Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township, while, at the same time, creating a demand for housing in Ypsilanti (both City and Township) that would draw an additional 4,178 “college educated” households. By doing this, he said, we might be able to avoid the worst of what awaits us.

Sadly, though, we haven’t seen much progress on either end of this equation, at least as far as I am aware, in the months since this report was issued. We’re already the 8th most economically segregated region in the United States and I don’t know that we’re seeing any signs of it getting better. While Ann Arbor continues to add luxury housing units, with little real public discussion of building additional affordable housing, Ypsilanti is aggressively courting low-income housing developers like Herman Kittle.

And, with all of that in mind, I thought now might be a good time to host a panel on affordable housing on the Saturday Six Pack, so we can find out exactly where we are with regard to increasing Ann Arbor’s affordable housing stock, which, as was noted above, is a huge piece of the puzzle… On the show, during the 6:00 hour, we will be joined by Ann Arbor City Council’s Chuck Warpehoski, the former Director of the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development Mary Jo Callan, Avalon Housing’s Michael Appel, and Brett Lenart, who, in his previous role as deputy director of Washtenaw County’s Housing and Community Infrastructure department, worked on the Affordable Housing and Economic Equity Analysis. I doubt we’ll figure everything out, but, hopefully, by the end of our conversation, we’ll at least have a better sense of where we stand, and what needs to be done if we’re ever to get more truly affordable housing in Ann Arbor.

Then, during the 7:00 hour, we’ll welcome Ypsi Community Schools art teacher Lynne Settles, a few of her students from Ypsi High, and local historian Matt Siegfried to discuss the new mural commemorating the life and accomplishments of HP Jacobs, a runaway slave from Alabama who made his way to Ypsilanti, became a janitor at what is now Eastern Michigan University, and then went on to found both a church and a school for black children here, before heading back south for several years after the Civil War, where he served in the Mississippi State Senate, helped found what is now Jackson State University, and, at the age of 65, become a doctor.

The mural, which is located at 432 Harriet Street, on the side of Currie’s barbershop, will be formally unveiled at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, November 11… Here, if you’re interested, is what it looked like a week or so ago.

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And, at 7:30, we’ll talk with intrepid boy reporter Tom Perkins about all of the shit he’s been stirring up on the Ypsi beat, including his most recent series of articles on Ypsilanti’s Water Street development, and a big feature he’s presently working on for the Metro Times about gerrymandering… And, after everyone calls in to yell at him, if there’s any time left, we’ll talk with Perkins about his pickle empire.

And, here, thanks to AM 1700 senior graphic designer Kate de Fuccio, is this week’s poster, in case any of you want to print copies and distribute them in the Meijer’s parking lot.

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FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE NEVER TUNED IN TO THE SIX PACK BEFORE, HERE ARE THE DETAILS ON HOW TO LISTEN:

Unless you live inside the AM 1700 studio, chances are you won’t be able to pick the show up on your radio. As that’s the case, I’d recommend streaming the show online, which you can do either on the AM1700 website or by way of TuneIn.com.

And for those of you who aren’t yet familiar with the show, and need to get caught up, you can listen to the entire archive on iTunes. If you start right now, and listen to everything at double speed, but you can do it.

One last thing… If you’d like to tell your friends and neighbors about the program, feel free to share the Facebook event listing.

And do call us if you have a chance. We love phone calls. So please scratch this number into the cinder block wall of the recreation room of whichever facility you’ve been assigned to… 734.217.8624… and call us between 6:00 and 8:00 this Saturday evening. The show is nothing without you. Sure, sometimes it’s nothing even with you, that’s true, but usually you make it better.

This entry was posted in Art and Culture, Civil Liberties, The Saturday Six Pack, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

23 Comments

  1. Peter Larson
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    ”When you get close to 30 percent or more in poverty, your ability to recover from that becomes almost impossible.”

    So the solution to a city’s financial problems is to figure ways to keep poor people out? Because that’s what’s going on here.

    I get that there are real financial issues, but rather than figure out ways to exclude, figure out ways to make cities more attractive to certain people (not saying this isn’t happening) or figure out ways to not muck up your city’s finances to the point of no return.

    Poor people are an easy political target, since they don’t have much of a say in anything that happens to them, in any part of the world. I realize that some people mean well, but the faceless nature of “the poor” in these discussions smacks of benign indifference.

  2. Andrew Clock
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Despite his reaction to my comments about attending meetings on MLive, I mostly don’t blame Tom for the horrible coverage of Ypsilanti. That falls squarely on mlive’s editors. I would also tend to put the blame for the sensational headlines in the same place. And just to and while we do tend to make mountains from molehills when it comes to this subject, news coverage here is lacking (that disclaimer was just for you Peter)

    That’s said, Tom does tend to cherry pick events and interviews to stir up debate. I think a lot of the MLive staff does this too. I personally took to doing all my interviews via email to make it more difficult to misquote or selectively quote. And that piece on the Greffs in metro times, based on the word of a single disgruntled employee, set a pretty low standard.

  3. Andrew Clock
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Wow. Typo city. Sorry about that.

  4. Posted November 6, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    That’s quite a leap, Pete. All I said was that, according to the studies have been done, Ann Arbor needs to build more affordable housing in order to decrease the pressure on Ypsilanti.

  5. Posted November 6, 2015 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    The newspaper business is a business. And, at the end of the day, Tom wouldn’t be getting a check from MLive if he weren’t stirring shit up and getting page views. Given that context, I think he does a pretty good job, and I think we’re probably better off with him than without him. At any rate, these are all things I hope that we’ll be discussing come Saturday. Call in if you have a chance, Andy.

  6. Brainless
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Don’t worry Mark, mlive won’t be a business for very long (sorry Tom). I hijacked another thread to make this point.

    http://markmaynard.com/2015/11/panic-on-water-street-mshda-report-raises-specter-of-toxins-that-could-derail-development-but-is-it-accurate/comment-page-1/#comment-888442

  7. Anonymous
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Who is your source, Brainless?

  8. 734
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I hope you aren’t planning to serve Corner Brewery beer. Perkins may object.

  9. Brainless
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    “Who is your source.”

    Fuck off, you paranoid mlive asshole. I don’t need a source. I’m not a journalist.

    But I am right and it fucking kills you that you can’t take any revenge on me. I know how it works over there.

  10. Kat
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I thought Perkins was out of the pickle game.

  11. Taco Farts
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    It’s Meijer, not Meijer’s.

  12. jcp2
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Mark,

    In addition to increasing the number of affordable housing units in Ann Arbor, the study that you linked to also explicitly recommended “Limit Additional Affordable Housing” as a high impact item to “grow demand by working and college-educated households to live and reinvest in Ypsilanti”. It’s on page 41 of the report. I think that’s what Peter is objecting to.

  13. dot
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Peter did not read the report. He barely reads the posts themselves.

  14. Peter Larson
    Posted November 7, 2015 at 3:22 am | Permalink

    “That’s quite a leap, Pete. All I said was that, according to the studies have been done, Ann Arbor needs to build more affordable housing in order to decrease the pressure on Ypsilanti.”

    What you intend and what actually happens are two very different things. You may intend to say that you wish “to relieve the pressure on Ypsilanti” (whatever that is) but the reality is that poor people are being willfully excluded from Ypsi, simply for being poor.

    I think it is a valid criticism.

  15. Peter Larson
    Posted November 7, 2015 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    “grow demand by working and college-educated households to live and reinvest in Ypsilanti”

    Yes, gentrification. I am not necessarily opposed to gentrification (Detroit could some), but one has to be aware of the implications. People with the least amount of political power bear the brunt of gentrification’s negative impacts, often by design.

  16. Posted November 7, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    the former Director of the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development Mary Jo Callan, … and Brett Lenart, who, in his previous role as deputy director of Washtenaw County’s Housing and Community Infrastructure department, worked on the Affordable Housing and Economic Equity Analysis.

    This wording allows the conclusion that Lenart is no longer involved. The reason his mentioned position is “previous” is because he’s acting Director of OCED after Callen’s departure.

  17. Posted November 7, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Peter — So the solution to a city’s financial problems is to figure ways to keep poor people out? Because that’s what’s going on here. I get that there are real financial issues, but rather than figure out ways to exclude, figure out ways to make cities more attractive to certain people (not saying this isn’t happening)

    “Send those poor folks packing” is not what either the consultant or the County recommended at any point. (It is certainly a position that some in Ypsi have used the report to justify — but not a new position by any means.)

    The report primarily calls for supply-side interventions in A2/Pittsfield (more housing, and especially more affordable housing, subsidized or otherwise), and for demand-side interventions in Ypsi/Twp — broadening the appeal of 48197/8 to households with college degrees and moderate to higher incomes.

    Mark, hopefully you can talk about those demand-side questions with your guests, and who they see doing what to advance them?

  18. Posted November 7, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    …and, as Peter notes, low-income residents get the least benefit from gentrification, even when that doesn’t specifically include their displacement from a neighborhood. Another piece of the puzzle for Washtenaw County’s housing balance is figuring out how to give low-income Ypsilantians a chance to become higher-income Ypsilantians, not just try to “dilute” them with new folks.

    sorry for comment hat-trick…

  19. verifyfirst
    Posted November 7, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Ypsilanti should begin planning a strategic default/bankruptcy, to wipe the slate clean and start over without all the historical financial burden. Has anybody looked seriously into what all that might entail, pluses and minuses? And change the town name, to separate us from the bad press from the Township.

  20. '76
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Starts with thoughtful discussion of countywide equity. Ends in nudity. Welcome to Ypsilanti.

  21. Posted November 8, 2015 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Washtenaw County is Very Bad for Income Mobility for Children in Poor Families: nyti.ms/1KGrkJM

  22. Elviscostello
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    verifyfirst, is suggest that a new name, Woodruff’s Grove, be selected. It reaches back to our original founder, and gives a pastoral feel.

  23. Lynne
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    All I can say about this episode is that apparently one cannot live in Ypsilanti without eventually having a naked man story.

2 Trackbacks

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