Special project relocates tenants from woeful housing

February 27th, 2017
Gloria Davis was relocated from substandard housing to this apartment building.

Gloria Davis knew for some time that she needed to move out of her apartment. But the weight of years gone by and things accumulated in the familiar setting seemed to hold her in place.

Gloria lived in the same unit of a lower east-side apartment building for 33 years. She is now 85. Her daughter is 65 and lives with her.

“When I first came there, it was a beautiful building,” Gloria says. ‘There was a pool and gardens. Every apartment was occupied.”

Over the years and changes in ownership, the building became rundown and eventually uninhabitable. Last year, of the more than 30 units, only three had tenants. In December, the heat went out and was never restored. The building is infested with rodents and a foul odor pervades.

On the third Friday of this month, a police officer and a City inspector knocked on Gloria’s door. They told her and her daughter that they needed to leave immediately because the building is being condemned.

Accompanying the officer and the inspector were staff persons with Southwest Solutions’ Housing Resource Center (HRC). They were there to help Gloria and her daughter, as well as the tenants in the two other occupied units, find a new place to live that is decent and affordable. The HRC staff included Donna Williams, who supervised the effort, Julie Dressler, Mariam Elamine, and Danielle Springer.

Gloria Davis (right) and her daughter Gloria Brown (left) with HRC staff persons Julie Dressler, Ben Tate, Mariam Elamine, and Danielle Springer.

Gloria Davis (right) and her daughter Gloria Brown (left) with HRC staff persons Julie Dressler, Ben Tate, Mariam Elamine, and Danielle Springer.

The HRC involvement is part of special projects work with the City of Detroit to relocate tenants living in substandard housing. The work is coordinated by our Street Outreach Team, which assists individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. This is the second time in the past month that the HRC has been called upon to relocate tenants in a condemned building.

HRC staff arranged for Gloria and her daughter to stay in a hotel while the team inquired about vacancies in other apartment buildings to meet Gloria’s needs. After Gloria and her daughter approved an available unit at Anthos Garden on the east side, the HRC team provided assistance with the leasing paperwork, moving arrangements, and funds for the first month’s rent and the security deposit.

“I’m pleased with the apartment,” Gloria said. “It’s a difficult adjustment to move, but you have to stay positive. You can’t dwell on the past. You have to live in the present and go forward.”

Gloria was born in Detroit and has lived here her entire life. She worked as a manager for the IRS for 33 years before retiring.

“I am very independent and have always taken care of myself since I was a young woman,” Gloria said. “But it was a blessing to receive this help when we really needed it, and I don’t know what we would have done or where we would have gone without it.”

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