2023 Equity Challenge Day 16: Housing Inequities and their Impact in Metro Detroit

Housing is a human right. There can be no fairness or justice in a society in which some live in homelessness, or in the shadow of that risk, while others cannot even imagine it.

Jordan Flaherty

Award winning journalist, producer, author and director of communications at Partners for Dignity & Rights

Today’s entry was written by Community Housing Network, one of our Equity Challenge Community Group Partner Organizations. Learn more about Community Housing Network at the bottom of today’s email. 

Where we live determines where we work, go to school and seek medical care. It also determines where we buy our food, where we play and what air we breathe. Housing is critical to our long-term health, well-being and financial security. Housing justice recognizes that people of all genders, races, ethnicities, disabilities, ages and more have access to high quality, safe, affordable housing that meets their needs.  

Why is housing justice needed? Well, for decades, people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities and marginalized communities have been segregated and without access to equitable housing opportunities. Understanding inequities in housing and how government policies have affected where and how we live today is critical in determining how to move forward. In Metro Detroit, housing inequities have a rooted history in discriminatory policies and practices that have led to residential segregation, unequal access to basic amenities and limited opportunities for low-income and minority residents. The consequences of these inequities have been far-reaching and have had a significant impact on health, well-being and economic opportunities. 

Some examples of policies and practices that have kept access to housing limited include: 

  • Redlining, the practice of denying a creditworthy applicant a loan for housing in a certain neighborhood even though the applicant may otherwise be eligible for the loan (Fair Housing Act). 
  • Discriminatory lending when a lender bases a decision on lending on race, gender or religion. This can create a scenario where in Detroit, Black lenders are denied mortgages at a higher rate than white lenders (WXYZ Detroit).  
  • White flight, a term to describe historic and current patterns of white and middle-class families from cities to suburbs (JSTOR). 

Numerous government-funded initiatives created a thriving middle class that intentionally left communities of color behind and excluded communities of color from generational wealth. 

Strategies that can be used to promote housing equity and access to opportunity include increasing the availability of affordable housing, expanding and investing in community development and promoting neighborhood revitalization. Community Housing Network builds affordable housing that is diverse and inclusive, where residents have access to opportunity and can be an integral part of the community. Please see the resources below for ways individuals can get involved in housing equity. 

If you are facing a crisis that may put your current housing at risk, CHN may be able to help. Reach out to CHN by: 





  • Opportunity maps reveal where opportunity is located geographically and demonstrate how different groups of people are concentrated in areas of low or high opportunity. Check out this opportunity map. These maps can promote community development and affirmatively connect marginalized communities to critical pathways to opportunity, such as successful schools, safe neighborhoods and sustainable employment.


Reflect And Share

  1. Take a moment to consider the neighborhood where you live, where you shop, where you work, where you or the children in your life go to school and the places you frequent. How integrated or segregated are they? How often are you in the majority/minority?
  2. Consider where you live. How has your family background influenced that? How have laws and policies influenced that?
  3. How did today’s challenge make you feel? What is something you learned today? 
  4. What material from today do you still have questions about or want to learn more about? What are ways you can further explore those questions?


Start the conversation. Send the tweet. Share your story. Make the Facebook post. Sharing what you learn and experience with your family, friends, and co-workers is the first step toward allyship.

Join thousands in conversation by using hastag #EquityChallenge or #TakeTheEC23