Housing in Detroit is often discussed in terms of its absence or dilapidation. It’s no wonder that Detroit’s housing stock has suffered over the decades of job loss, disinvestment, and discrimination. When nearly 40% of residents live below the poverty line, investing in housing comes secondary to food, water, heat, etc. The vast majority of the city (93%) was built before 1978 when the Lead Rule banning lead in paint was adopted.
The city saw a housing boom during and after World War II when thousands of people migrated to Detroit for good paying jobs which at the time made up one-sixth of all employment in the country. Currently, 62% of residential housing was built before 1950 in Detroit.
Internationally, housing has been shown to be a critical component of good health. Whether it is providing a cement floor and tin roof to families in Haiti or ensuring routine maintenance in Brooklyn public housing, the structures that we live in contribute greatly to our physical health and overall well-being. The Housing for Health initiative provides a guide and toolkit to ensure nine specific healthy home practices to create healthier communities.