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Housing Development Projects are an assault on working class families

September 5, 2016

One of the strongest indicators of how working class individuals and families are under attack in this community is the recent housing development trend.screen-shot-2016-04-27-at-8-25-06-pm

According to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute, Grand Rapids has the highest wealth gap of any community in Michigan, with over one quarter of the community experiencing poverty (27%). 

However, such statistics do not tell the whole story. Indeed, statistics are not enough to tell us that what we are seeing in an all out class war being waged against working families.

In April it was reported that Rise Real Estate received approval for a $53 million dollar housing development project on Grand Ave NE, between Michigan and the 196 highway. 

This project, which will provide 287 Market-rate apartments, means that they will be unaffordable to working class individuals and families. In addition, the project will include a 4 story, 334 car parking garage.

This entire project received substantial tax breaks, to the tune of $8.9 million dollars.

This project has already resulted in the destruction of over a dozen homes (see above graphic of what used to exist before the current project) and the displacement of over a dozen families. What do you say to these families? Families who may fall deeper into poverty by being displaced. Families who may have lost jobs because of the displacement and have had to pull their kids out of the schools that they attended. Do we have any idea of the harm that is caused by such a project?

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Those defending such a project will no doubt say that 287 housing units far outweighs the number of homes bulldozed in the process. What they are really saying is that those who can afford market rate housing are more important than working class individuals and families.

Such project ultimately promote contempt for working class people and are part of a class war, whether we recognize it or not.

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