Tag: how to find a home to rent

Let’s Talk Specifics: Real Problems With Race Inequality In Grand Rapids Real Estate

Redlining…that old fashioned sounding thing that is still happening…hopefully due to the lag of new ideas replacing old habits…It’s not OVERT racism: saying out loud that one person is better than another because of the color of their skin. It’s COVERT racism: you say out loud that everyone matters, but behind the scenes you do things to treat a person of color as less than, or you take actions to bolster white privilege.

Need to catch up: Read Let’s Talk History: Real Problems with Race Inequality In Grand Rapids Real Estate here. 

Rewind to The Housing Crisis in 2008…

What role did race play? Hypothesis: the wealth disparity correlates to race, with minorities making less…and lower income households were the first to face foreclosure, and suffer from lower home prices?

Let’s paint the picture:redlining

Housing bubble- pop! Pop Quiz: Mortgages

Decline in home prices + high household debt (MBS + CDO) people selling for less than they owe = subprime mortgage crisis (higher interest rates – lower credit or capacity to pay = default)

In our local news the Rapidian in an article called Seeing Red…”loans made to African-Americans were down by 65.9% while loans to whites were only down by 21.4% in the city.” That’s inequality.

How does that happen?!

Once Again, It’s Called Redlining. Here Is HOW It Is Done…Here Is a 2016 Example:

Art-Aldrich_332x332Meet Arthur (Art) Aldrich is a Mortgage Lender with Chemical Bank.

His bio says…”common sense approach to lending…

I am experienced in all conforming and portfolio products.”

You know what has been “common sense” in the last century? Keeping minorities in minority neighborhoods…lending to whites and not as much to minorities. See percentages above. Or go drive around Grand Rapids.

With experience it would be possible to stay within legal bounds but still accomplish a goal of covert discrimination. Mr. Aldrich had a young lady come to him with a mortgage package. She’s mixed – with mixed parents, and from Grand Rapids. She’s working full time at a job that pays 30,000-40,000 per year. She qualifies for a 100,000 mortgage. She won a bid on a house for 85,000…AND she wasn’t the highest bidder…but her realtor wrote a letter explaining this woman’s line of work, how hard she works, how she has a daughter she’s raising with full custody.

Mr. Aldrich wasn’t the first loan officer to look at her application and let it sit…and sit…and sit…on his desk. The last guy realized really late in the game that his bank couldn’t take the grant she had for her down payment…that’s why things were taking so long…Because she was not able to save thousands of dollars due to lower income, so she qualified for a grant…yet the grant barred her from service.

Keeping the down, down. Sound familiar? We feel your pain, woman.

So – Art says, “Sure..” We deal with that grant’s red tape…and then he Redlined her. He did not touch her application while telling her he was…while his superiors had been contacted by the realtor…assuring her the same…still…throwing a closing day further into the future…near 60 days…

This woman, business professional, calm-cool-collected walks in, “I’ve been displaced from my home, and my car broke down. It’s totaled because of the cost of parts, so I am trying to look into a car loan and I cannot get one because this mortgage is still in process… where is it at in the process? Can I talk to someone?” And the tellers say, “…are busy. You’ll have to come back later.” She can make eye-contact with Mr. Aldrich. He can hear her. He ignores her. art aldrich

Mr. Aldrich did nothing. And that is his crime, and that’s why it’s hard to pin him for “nothing” and probably why it keeps happening! It’s easy.

Her story has a happy ending…she switched banks, who are aware of these impropr, subtle, yet cruel business practices – awareness – acknolwedgement – compassion –

She got her paperwork back from the third bank in a mere two weeks, and the seller’s also aware – and compassionate waited. 

Sometimes redlining of this sort works because of competition – someone else gets there first, first come first served.

The first will be last…I’ve heard somewhere…

Here’s News Though, Even If You Have The Best Intentions…You Can Still Be Guilty of Redlining 

Art Aldrich could be the most stand up white male, grandfather, tithes a lot…loves black people..but, Art Aldrich’s intentions do NOT matter, his beliefs do NOT matter…his (non-action) actions matter. He is guilty of managerial racism…even if somehow you “didn’t know” the woman’s race…she is what she is and it is what it is for that reason. That’s not right.

Click Here Fill Out This Form, and Get a Call From a Person Who Is Aware of The Effects of Race and History and The Compounding Domino Effects of Being Lower-Income…Oh, And They Will Still Help You Even If You Are Wealthy and White. That’s Equality.

Driving Demand for Home Building in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Those surviving on low-income are driving the demand for home building in Grand Rapids, but indirectly. The MSHDA, Michigan State Housing Development Authority, comes in to give the businesses looking to expand a push in the right direction. Through a LIHTC, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit towards the property tax a business can make serving the demand profitable.

It’s not that Michiganders Are Lazy…

Low-income driving the demand for more, more-affordable, homes isn’t because too many people are sitting at home on their comfortable couch. Just in March 2016 the employment rate in Michigan dropped to a 4.8. That’s .2 below the National Average. That feels nice, but ‘averages’ when speaking to individuals sit with Diddy and Squat.  There’s Diddily, Squat and Average sitting on a couch..where is Tall? He’s working with you!

Meet the MSHDA:

There’s a movement around Grand Rapids to renovate old, unused spaces and create livable space. That’s a utopian dream, right. And it just so happens, there’s a high demand for low-income housing and there’s a benefit to the economy is people can live with expendable incomes. The MSHDA works on behalf of people earning too low an income to keep up, whether this is through single parent homes, disability, back-to-school (temporarily-under-employed) situation, temporary unemployment. Individually, Going the Mortgage route is one way. The MSHDA has stakes in another. Click here to read more about MSHDA. 

Meet the LIHTC:Money-Cycle-290x300

The fact that there is such a thing as market-rate rent and affordable rent is a sign, is it not? There’s a division in the market and the upper class has the money so claims the market-rent and the rest of the market can be subsidized somehow through government programs and legislation. It’s better than tearing down all the old buildings and putting up new, for only the wealthy-enough… actually even that will help. Those property taxes flow in and are turned into tax credits for OTHER businesses that will house at a rent-restricted rate. The symbiotic being of the government, business and people… amazing.

Places like Rockford Construction will come drive the Fulton stretch, Leonard St… and see an open space and throw up a new apartment complex…like the dozy going up across from adobe by GVSU and charge market-rate rent. Yeah these buildings will make it nicer, and then someone like Karl Chew with Brookstone Capital, LLC of Midland will come in and use the LIHTC to renovate an old building and have a 50-50 market-rate rent and affordable rent. Click here to learn more…

Click here to forget all that and buy a home…


What the MSHDA Is Doing for Real Estate Projects in West Michigan

We can say the housing market looks great but until the people who need houses have houses it’s not a great market for the market, the people. The method of calculation for a market-rate house is unclear. It appears clear to a family when affordable isn’t. The demand for affordable housing remains high all over Michigan, says the MSHDA.

Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Go Green?

Lots of things “Go Green Can mean these days.” Is there a Michigan State University affiliation?  No; they are located in Lansing but not East Lansing. This is a .gov deal. There is also a Detroit office. We see why. Don’t worry West Michigan, they still service our area.

The grass is greener? The Greens? Dollar, Dollar bills you all! Yes, maybe. The MSHDA takes in money from the federal government at a rate of about $1.75 (more recently it’s been legislated that this will increase automatically with inflation) per resident of the state, sometimes more…read here… That green sea of money is a pool that has many uses. Builders can apply for credit off their property taxes.

This West Michigan Real Estate Property is Benefiting: 20 East Fulton. Job creation in West Michigan happens when Builders can fund large projects. Without a strong employment market, there cannot be a strong real estate market. Hopetoown agrees. 

Environmentally speaking would be a really interesting twist to the command, “Go Green” Now! You better make LEAD certified buildings for the people of low-income to thrive in. THRIVE NOT SURVIVE! THRIVE NOT SURVIVE. Oh, pardon me, this writer turned into a picketer for a moment. MSHDA (sang to the tune of YMCA)!  Actually there is a “green initiative” with MSHDA; good job! The division with green initiatives has a description

“The purpose of Downtown & Community Services is to support the creation, preservation and sustainability of vibrant communities through technical assistance.”

This is a good way to word the benefit West Michigan feels from MSHDA, with it’s many different divisions.

One is section 8. Maybe you’ve heard of it, a voucher Program as rental assistance which is one solution to homelessness. The HOPE Program has solutions, too. This article might be of interest to the section 8 residents out there. 

Supporting the Creation and Preservation with Sustainability by the LIHTC is ONE MAJOR way MSHDA supports West Michigan, and beyond. But not to infinity. Only Michigan. Read more about LIHTC here.MSHDA

MSHDA Creates Incentive For Builders to House Forgotten Portions of The Market!

Are you feeling forgotten?  You can use MSHDA to find a place to rent. 

You can connect to a network of housing help here.