DEBORAH STRONG HOUSING
Named after a longtime housing advocate and former chairperson of the Ypsilanti Housing Commission, Deborah Strong Housing includes the rehabilitation of existing public housing units. Completed in late 2016, the project consists of 112 units over 12 scattered sites, including eight one- and two-story duplexes and 19 one- and two-story garden-style buildings. Three of these sites are apartment complexes comprised of 36 (Sauk Trail Pointe), 34 (Hollow Creek) and 26 (Towner Apartments) units. Nine additional sites offer duplexes with two to ten units located at each site.
All units are targeted to families earning 60% of Area Median Income (AMI) or less. Additionally, all 112 units will provide Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance as a result of the conversion of this public housing through HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program. The unit mix includes 31 one-bedroom units, 28 two-bedroom units, 34 three-bedroom units and 19 four-bedroom units.
The sites are all located within four square miles of each other, and are close to schools, commercial, recreational, and healthcare services. Specifically, the close proximity to Eastern Michigan University allows for the successful integration of EMU’s Family Empowerment Program (FEP). Community centers and new, state-of-the-art playgrounds are located at the two largest sites, Hollow Creek and Sauk Trail Pointe (formerly Paradise Manor), and are available to all residents. Computer labs, community rooms with full kitchens, as well as FEP and management offices are located in the community centers. A community garden was installed in Spring 2018 at Sauk Trail Pointe. A “healthy food” educational component is an integral part of the community garden experience.
Deborah Strong Housing is the first project to participate in the Strong Families Fund (SFF), a pilot pay-for-performance effort to finance social service coordination and affordable housing. With funding provided by the Kresge and Robert Wood Foundation, the SFF builds on the framework that housing can be a platform to improve the lives of tenants and the communities in which they live.