Comprised of 43 communities and a population of more than 2.1 million, Wayne County, Michigan, is the eighth largest county in the United States. Almost half of metropolitan Detroit's population is included in the county. Because of its size, the county defies a simple description: there are middle-income bedroom suburbs, smokestack communities, wealthy bedroom suburbs, and a number of small towns within formerly rural townships. While the automobile industry is still a major presence, a high technology corridor has broadened the economic base. The county is highly developed. The largest single use of land is residential, with 41.8 percent of the land dedicated to residential use.
Thirty-one of Wayne County's cities and towns participate in the county's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program as consortium communities. In most cases, the largest communities, including Detroit, do not participate in the consortium. It is the 31 consortium towns that are described in this Consolidated Plan, although some of the strategies address Detroit and other non-consortium cities that may comprise the County's target audience.
For the first year of the 5-year plan, Wayne County is requesting $3.9 million in CDBG funds, $1.45 million in HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) funds, and a $144,000 Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG). Planned uses emphasize housing rehabilitation, first-time homebuyer assistance, shelter and services for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness, and infrastructure improvements.
A Consolidated Plan Task Force consisting of staff from the Wayne County Department of Jobs and Economic Development and the Department of Health and Community Services compiled the statistical information. Public hearings were held in "distressed" areas.
The first public hearing was held in the city of Ecorse on January 18, 1995,
with the sponsorship of the Coalition of Citizens for a Better Ecorse. Citizens
were invited to comment on housing and community development needs within their
community. The second hearing was held in the city of Melvindale on March 20,
1995, so that residents could hear the proposed uses of CDBG, HOME, and ESG
funds. Following a 30-day public comment period, the Consolidated Plan was sent
to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on May 15.
The 31 Wayne County consortium communities had a population of 454,673 in 1990, a 3.1 percent decrease from 1980. Twenty-three of the communities experienced decreases that ranged from minor losses of less than 2 percent to significant losses of 10 percent or more. The communities that experienced population increases were the wealthy areas on the outermost edges of the county. To some extent losses in population were offset by increases in the number of households. This trend to smaller households is expected to continue, adding 8,466 households in the next 5 years. The proportion of the population 65 or older increased from 9.1 to 12.7 percent between 1980 and 1990.
The population of the consortium communities is overwhelmingly white: 93.2 percent is white, 4.7 percent is African American, 2.4 percent is Hispanic (any race), and 1.1 percent is Asian American or Pacific Islander. Since 1980, the minority population grew by 18 percent, while the white, non-Hispanic population decreased by 3 percent. These figures are in stark contrast to the total Wayne County population, which is 57.4 percent white and 42.6 percent African American.
Median family income (MFI) in the Detroit metropolitan area is $40,961. Fifty-two percent of all households are at income levels above the MFI, but 23 percent have low incomes.
Wayne County defines an area as low-income concentrated if 25 percent or more of the households have incomes of less than $25,000 or less than 60 percent of the area MFI. Under this definition, the highest percentage of low-income families is located in River Rouge, Ecorse, Melvindale, Wyandotte, Wayne, Romulus, and Flat Rock. In all of these communities, at least 29 percent of the households are considered low income.
Twenty-three of the 31 communities have MFIs that exceed the Detroit area
median, but this was not achieved by every racial or ethnic group. African
Americans have the highest percentage of households earning less than $25,000
per year. Asian Americans have the highest percentage of any racial and ethnic
group earning above 95 percent of MFI.
The Consolidated Plan reports the year-round housing supply at 230,037 units, 93 percent of them occupied. Two-thirds are owner-occupied; one-fourth are renter-occupied; and the others are vacant. Only 37 percent of the vacant units were actually available for rent or sale.
Twenty-eight percent of the current housing stock was built in the 1950s, the decade of greatest growth. About 29 percent were built before 1950. The older housing units are in the inner-ring suburban communities.
Cost burdens were the most common housing problem, according to 1990 census data. The lowest income groups had the highest incidence of cost burden, although moderate-income households also had some affordability problems.
The median value of a home in Wayne County rose from $32,600 in 1980 to $48,500 in 1990, a 49-percent increase. During that time the rate of inflation was 51 percent, however, so housing values actually fell.
Unlike housing value, median contract rent has increased faster than the rate of inflation. Median rent increased from $166 in 1980 to $297 in 1990, a 79-percent increase.
The highest percentage of households with housing problems (cost burden, overcrowding, or substandard structure) exists among those in the lowest income groups. Of the extremely low- and low-income households (incomes of 0-30 percent of MFI and 31-50 percent of MFI, respectively), 77 percent have housing problems. Only 10 percent of the moderate- income population (those earning 81-95 percent of MFI) experience housing problems. Renters have twice as many housing problems as owners.
All 31 communities are more than 50 percent owner-occupied, although homeownership has decreased in 19 of the communities. Fifty-two percent of all households are at income levels above the MFI, while 23 percent fall within the low-income level. The closer a household is to the MFI, the greater likelihood of the house being owner-occupied. The percentages of renter households in each income category are as follows:
Because 50 percent of African-American families and more than 30 percent of Native- American families have incomes below $25,000, they have a disproportionate need for affordable housing.
Counting the number of homeless in Wayne County is particularly complicated due to their "invisibility" to authorities. Those who double up with other families or seek help at a Detroit shelter are not included in estimates. However, the Consolidated Plan estimates that 225 of those counted throughout the county during a point-in-time count were non-Detroit persons. This is a low estimate, considering the 475 families (261 from communities outside Wayne) that were serviced by the Wayne County Family Center in 1993.
There are only three homeless shelters outside Detroit that provide a full continuum of care program, which includes education, drug counseling, case management, and day care.
The supply of public housing units is well below the demand. Public housing authorities (PHAs) provide 1,915 units, but more than 2,900 households in the consortium are on a waiting list. Non-consortium communities, which often allow consortium residents to apply for housing, report a waiting list of 2,486 households.
Almost all (97 percent) of the 1,915 PHA units are in good or excellent condition. Three percent of the units are acceptable but could benefit from refurbishing work.
Wayne County administers 84 Section 8 certificates. Its waiting list is currently closed and not expected to reopen for 2 to 3 years.
Wayne County has identified 11 barriers to community and economic development:
The Consolidated Plan estimates that 113,259 housing units occupied by low- and moderate-income households are at risk of lead-based paint hazards. Between 30 and 60 cases of children with elevated blood levels are reported annually to the Wayne County Health Department. The most common source of this poisoning is exposure to lead-based paint in housing built before 1939.
Among the 38,002 elderly households, 77 percent own their homes and 23 percent are renters. Some consortium communities have nearly doubled their elderly populations; others have experienced a decrease. Overall, the number of persons over the age of 65 has increased, a trend that is expected to continue. It is estimated that one-fifth of the elderly population (1,812 householders) may be considered frail elderly, defined as those unable to perform at least three activities of daily living.
There have been 596 diagnosed cases of AIDS in Wayne County, excluding Detroit. Persons with HIV/AIDS may have special housing needs. Long waiting lists and treatment problems make it difficult for those with HIV/AIDS to access Section 8 housing. For those with advanced cases of AIDS, the waiting time is often longer than their remaining life. The quality of available and affordable housing may not be appropriate for persons with HIV/AIDS.
Persons with physical disabilities require barrier-free environments, while those with mental or developmental disabilities require supportive services to help them live independently. A 1993 report prepared by the Michigan Department of Health found that people with serious mental illness often lived below the poverty level and had difficulty performing basic community living skills. About 19 percent of developmentally disabled and 10 percent of mentally disabled households needed supportive housing.
Because there are 31 communities in the consortium and they vary widely with regard to their needs, the Consolidated Plan classifies them as communities with high, limited, and low needs. High needs communities have a low-income base and high unemployment. Social services must be provided to upgrade the quality of life for the residents and to make the communities more attractive to investors.
Limited needs communities have large proportions of low-income elderly and
residents who are cost burdened. In low needs communities, especially those that
are growing rapidly, potential needs include assistance for lower income
households displaced due to rising property values.
Wayne County will encourage the use and expansion of existing programs that have been successful and can be duplicated in high needs communities. The goals listed in the Wayne County 5-Year Strategy are to:
The first priority for funding is given to those communities that have been identified as having the highest needs: Ecorse, Melvindale, River Rouge, Romulus, Wayne, and Wyandotte.
The county's primary priorities for allocation of funds are:
Its secondary priorities are:
Local objectives for nonhousing community development projects include:
Wayne County's anti-poverty strategy aims to address the systemic causes of poverty. While the condition of poverty can be the result of numerous causes, moving out of poverty is accomplished through gainful employment. Education is a key element in breaking the barriers to employment. Skills training and remedial course work in reading and math are essential to prepare persons for job training programs.
Wayne County provides a flexible range of employment, training, and educational services for eligible individuals, including dislocated workers, through its Education & Job Training Division.
The existing institutional structure for the development of affordable housing in Wayne County is made up of governmental agencies, private nonprofit organizations, and private developers.
The Wayne County Jobs and Economic Development Department has responsibility for administering the housing programs. Two divisions in this department have established partnerships with nonprofit agencies to further the development of affordable housing.
Coordinating the plan will involve extensive cooperation with housing and
social service delivery systems throughout the county. The county intends to
encourage a coalition of Wayne County agencies to facilitate interagency
monitoring and assistance to homeless persons. The county will link with an
established network of advisory boards, local jurisdictions, public agencies,
community-based organizations, and private developers to further the housing and
community development goals.
Among the projects the Wayne County consortium will fund with its nearly $5.5 million of first-year CDBG, HOME, and ESG funds are the following:
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.
MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 6 is a map, sectioned by neighborhood, which depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 7 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within one of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.
MAP 8 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within another of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.
MAP 9 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).