Detroit Today

Gentrification, Aging and Millennials: Aging Together

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Photo courtesy of MLive

Bridge Magazine's Nancy Derringer and MLive reporter David Muller join Rochelle and Laura to discuss the relationship between Detroit seniors and gentrification in the city's greater downtown district.

“I don’t think anyone any of these young people are thinking, ‘I’m going to kick this old lady out of her apartment,’ Derringer says. However, in buildings like The Albert, located on Griswold, some longtime residents are feeling the push from millennials and developers alike. Although the seniors who once lived in The Albert (formerly The Griswold Apartments) were granted relocation assistance, it illustrates the larger picture of the social and real estate shift in Detroit.

Muller discusses housing prices in Detroit, and tells Laura and Rochelle that Generation X homeowners compose most of the population of homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages. This fact, coupled with the predominate reluctance from banks to loan younger people money to buy homes, plays a part in the surge of renters.

Rent subsidies from Detroit companies are also making it easy and appealing for young people to come to Detroit. While repopulating the city is a good thing, both Muller and Derringer recognize that these new rent subsidies are pushing out existing residents, and making room for suburban transplants. In a city that is 139 square-miles and largely vacant, the tension building in the greater downtown area’s 7.2 square-miles seems absurd to nearly everyone –except profit-driven developers and transplants too preoccupied with the allure of “new Detroit” incentives, to realize that the “old Detroit” never left.

Aging Together is a summer-long project between MLive Detroit, WDET 101.9FM Detroit and Model D Media that explores the issues of older adults in Detroit, Southeast Michigan and the state.