It seems like a trick question.
Everyone needs shelter, a roof over their heads, protection from the elements. But is it a human right? Food, water, clothing, shelter?
Or is it for the fortunate?
In Detroit, we see a variety of situations and circumstances. Beautiful, historic homes netting hundreds of thousands of dollars, protected by sophisticated security systems and surrounded by tall iron fences. On the next block, we find burnt-out shells of homes whose former glory we can sort of see peaking out from the debris.
And on other blocks, we find open fields and wildflowers where once stood homes for hard-working families.
I would argue that everyone needs a place to lay his head at night, to hang his coat, to brew a pot of tea. But I’m not sure how we create this equity for all.
As a dedicated Detroit real estate investor, I believe in being part of the solution as our city rebuilds. I look for neighborhoods up-and-coming and put my money where my hope is - in properties that I can envision as safe, affordable housing where for decades there has been none.
I work with tenants to make sure they can achieve stability. If a tenant experiences some challenges, I’m far more likely to work with them than throw them out - for there must be humanity in housing.
When we work together to lift one another up - whether by rebuilding a block one house at a time, or fortifying a neighborhood by rehabbing properties and providing good places to live - we all benefit.