Improvised Living Arrangements

When housing issues are discussed, most of topics covered center around homeownership, tax deductions, and using new homes built as a barometer for economic stability.  One issue that is not covered enough that disproportionately affects younger people is the issue of affordability.  Due to changing circumstances, many young people have decided to cluster together under one roof; which is a far cry from the 1950’s fantasy of the nuclear family with 2.3 kids and a white picket fence.  Despite problems with people crawling over each other to make it to the bathroom, this is an inventive way to get around the lack of affordability with the current housing market.
On 12/09/16, I was listening to NPR on the radio about the fire in Oakland, California, which is derisively called “Hipster Heaven”.  The types of people who were said to be residents of this enclave are artistic and musical types.  The housing complex had a high turnover rate, so in essence no one could claim permanent residence, which is a defining characteristic of modern artistic culture.  Beyond generalizations about artistic culture, multiple young people living under one roof is a trend in major urban areas due to rising housing cost in some areas, particularly where factories closed up shop and the work relocated to other markets.
On the positive side, this situation brings together all sorts of people, thus creating a sense of solidarity to meet everyday needs.  Regardless of the people living in such conditions- be it an artist- or a working class person working a 9 to 5 job, people of various backgrounds working together is a good thing.  Another good thing about this type of community is that they have to innovate with various do-it-yourself projects to save a few dollars here and there.  This situation is becoming more common, yet not a situation that is seen as mainstream.
The City of Detroit recently had a similar situation with the Russell Bazaar housing complex. The cause of the shutdown was code violations and a gas leak which is forcing immediate evictions of the nearly 150 tenants and businesses using the complex.  One of the effects of the do-it-yourself aesthetic is that the materials the tenants use to hold the building together are substandard at best.  In the case of Russell Bazaar, a former factory was not properly converted into an adequate living space or entertainment venue.
Detroit and the surrounding region is diverse, but people tend to cluster in large part due to racial demographics.  Over the past few years this trend has been reversing due to an exodus of people from the city along with more artistic types locating in the downtown area such as Russell Bazaar.  In the downtown area people are united by shared interest in the arts and commerce, which is not as present in the suburbs.  It is this psychographic circumstance that encourages people to locate in downtown areas.
This post lays out some of the issues involved with recent trends in the nations housing situation that can be found in any urban area.  As with most things in life, there are positives and negatives that can be navigated.  For those who either wish to change their housing situation, or just want some advice there are organizations that can assist people. For people who live in Detroit the most prominent organization that can help is Family Tree which is located at 615 Griswold, Suite 1709, Detroit, Michigan 48226. The phone number for the organization is (313)962-2329 and do not hesitate to give us a call.
Family Tree is a non-profit 501C# agency.
All contributions are tax deductible.
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