Broken Promises in Brightmoor Homes

May 1, 2018

Student researchers in UM-Dearborn’s Urban Praxis Workshop are working with Brightmoor Homes residents to map ownership patterns, tax delinquency, and evictions in their neighborhood.

Eviction threats, inadequate repairs, rising rents, and unfulfilled promise to allow residents to purchase their homes has led residents in Brightmoor Homes to organize and pressure the city, rental management company, and non-profit that hold title to these houses to make good on the pledge of homeownership.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, residents were promised the chance to buy their homes as part of a 15-years lease-purchase agreement. Nearly two decades into the contract, residents are demanding the non-profit developer honor these promises.

Student researchers in UM-Dearborn’s Urban Praxis Workshop are working with residents to map ownership patterns, tax delinquency, and evictions in their neighborhood. The urban praxis maps by Jacob Yesh-Brochstein have been utilized to organize residents in the development and other tenants adjacent to the 277 houses in the four phases of Brightmoor Homes. It has also been used to illustrate broader issues in the neighborhood in meetings with city officials. 

The experience of these residents is not isolated in the city. Research by Urban Praxis Workshop members Joshua Akers and Eric Seymour found that in the past decade the City of Detroit moved from a city of homeowners to a city of tenants, a change driven in part by the mortgage foreclosure and financial crisis. Detroit residents now face increasing pressures from rising rents, predatory land contracts, and quick evictions. You can read more about this research here.

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