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Posted on Sun, May 12, 2013 : 5:55 a.m.

Ann Arbor needs to consider affordable housing as market-rate housing prices climb

By Staff

Ann Arbor has endured a lot of changes during the 10-plus years after officials decided to develop a downtown parking lot into a public-private, mixed-use development that would bring more residents downtown.

The result of that effort is now taking its place on the city skyline, as Ann Arbor City Apartments prepares to take reservations for its 155 units.

Many of the changes are known and obvious to anyone who’s spent any time here at all, and many also have let Ann Arbor grow as a business and entertainment destination.

But amid a recent report that rental rates for the apartments will top out at about $2,675 - except for the 16 units set aside as affordable under federal income guidelines for the city - we think it’s important for the city to consider a few of them:

  • The demolition of the former Y - and its very-low income housing - amid promises to replace those bedrooms near downtown.
  • The loss of the failed Near North affordable housing project on the northern edge of downtown.
  • The redevelopment near campus that’s resulted in high-priced student housing.
  • The expectation that some neighborhood rentals on the fringe of the “student area” will return to single-family homes, taking some of the lowest-priced student housing out of the city’s mix.
Ann Arbor has always been an accessible town that’s valued diversity. These changes in its housing stock - especially as for-sale housing values climb along with demand - create a vulnerability for the city.

While we support many aspects of downtown development - including Ann Arbor City Apartments - we also caution that this town needs strong advocates for affordable housing in and near downtown. The solution won’t be easy. But the cost of not listening to concerns about our housing mix could result in the city turning into a gentrified enclave and losing the essence of what drew many people to this town in decades past.



Wed, May 15, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

Without a tax haven...there is no such thing as afforable housing in A2. Unless your name is Gucci, or you are bank rolled by some...?


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 2:47 p.m.

Let them eat cake


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

I would like a single family home in ann arbor in the 1000-1300 range. Anything in that range at this point seems to be part of a chopped up duplex or triplex and usually consists of a shared yard. Since this is not easy to achieve in A2, I bought a home in ypsi that covers all of my needs, in a good neighborhood and price range. Works for me.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:05 p.m.

It sounds like you mean "taxpayer subsidized" housing, not affordable housing.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 2:11 a.m.

Affordable housing in Ann Arbor = 8 Chinese students sleeping in a 4 bunk beds in a 2 bedroom apartment. The U takes up too much taxable real estate in Ann Arbor for the city to give any tax brakes to any charitable cause --- sad but true.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:32 a.m.

What is needed is "middle class" housing near downtown. There are a handful of "affordable" apts for those that qualify, and a great many luxury units, both condos and apartments. What is sorely lacking are middle class apartment rates, for those that don't qualify for a handful of low income units and for those that aren't rich students, or rather students with rich parents. The majority of income levels fall in the middle, and those are the individuals and families that are here for the long term, not the transient population of students who come and go. Not every middle income individual or family wants to live in a single family house with all the responsibilities of lawn care, landscaping, maintenance and upgrades that come with home ownership. There are plenty of empty nest couples or singles who would love to live closer to downtown and they are NOT students. They are NOT interested in a $1000 bedroom in a multi-bedroom unit, or a $2700/month 2 bedroom lux apartment. Those are just not realistic rents for middle income retirees or individuals who make a good salary, but not $97,000/year ($2700 = 1/3 of monthly income = $8100/mo income). A handful of "affordable" units for low income folks only serves the developer by providing tax breaks; it doesn't address the real need for apartment units at lower and middle income rents and apartments geared toward ADULTS and families, not students. If the city of A2 wants to diversify in the center city, then it needs to build housing that addresses multi-generational populations in the middle of the income spectrum. Right now, the downtown and center city revolves around rich students, and it is not a sustainable model. It's a model based on a quick buck for greedy developers and landlords, a model based on degrading neighborhoods by building monster student warehouses, not a model based on addressing the needs of a wide range of income levels and a wide range of populations.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 10:34 p.m.

Even the so-called "affordable" units are priced out of the range of most who would actually want to live in them. Not to mention, most of those units will probably be on the First St. side of the building, with all the attendant racket from the various nightclubs/bars across the street. Loud bands, brawling puking drunks, and all the other forms of loud, annoying behavior associated with bar districts - which is fine, but I wouldn't wanna live across the street from it. Who would?? Maybe some nice, college kids... oops.

Tom Joad

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 8:30 p.m.

It shouldn't escape anyone's notice that relegating lower-income earners farther away from jobs makes it that much harder for them to find gainful employment as it often requires a significant expenditure for commuting. In an era of increasingly expensive energy costs living closer to jobs becomes a principal consideration.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 8:20 p.m.

You get more of what you subsidize. Why would we want more poor people in inner Ann Arbor? Do we want more crime? Do we want more domestic violence calls, more drunk driving? Do we want more beggars? Really, what wonderful attribute of people are we trying to increase?

Tony Livingston

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

There are plenty of neighborhoods with affordable housing. There are entire houses in the city of Ann Arbor in good condition with large yards selling for $50 or $60,000. Private landlords are doing all of the work and taking all of the risk. There is no assistance from the city at all. Use the city money to make grants and low interest loans available to landlords who have been providing this housing for years. Many of us would add a second bathroom or another bedroom to house low income families if there was assistance. Or put more money into the voucher system that already exists. Help strengthen the neighborhoods that are already here instead of subsidizing housing that pulls tenants away from the places that we already have. Private landlords (who are paying the taxes, doing the work, and taking the risks) cannot compete with government subsidized housing that is brand new and cheaper than our rents that haven't been raised in years.

Jay Thomas

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 9:16 p.m.

There is plenty of affordable housing stock in the city. It's shocking how misunderstood this is. The reality (I'm afraid) is that many people have been looking at the newer houses outside of town that they wouldn't have been able to afford in the past due to higher interest rates.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 6:09 p.m.

I don't think that's a bad idea. Does not have to be one answer for every part of the problem. Would have to be careful it didn't turn into a situation like we have with farm subsidies where the largest landholders, due to lobbying money spent, reap all the benefits. Would you take a conditional loan like that?

Rita Mitchell

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 4 p.m.

I ask that any article or editorial about "affordable housing" include actual dollar amounts defining the "affordable" term. Without the defined income information, each of us applies our understanding, and there are wide differences, ranging from ultra-low income (below $12,000), to affordable for someone with a reasonable yet below median income (45,000). Use the references to % of Average Median Income AND the actual dollar amount represented by such for the given year. Then we can have a discussion that is more meaningful. Leaving out the detail means that we all talk about different things, and get nowhere.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 3:21 p.m.

Q: What is affordable housing? A: A cheap place to live. That's it. It doesn't need to be planned by the city, it doesn't need a government seal of approval, it doesn't need to be tied to social service oversight. Affordable housing is a cheap place to live. The biggest obstacle to affordable housing in Ann Arbor is the excessive building of unaffordable housing. If the City leadership and the DDA cared about providing affordable housing, they wouldn't be in such a hurry to fill every square foot of avaiable land with the opposite. Until public/private involvement in Near North, those eight houses provided 20-some units of a cheap place to live. Until the Y was torn down it was a cheap place to live. Ironically, the new Y construction also removed many cheap places to live, along with the artists and small businesses' cheap places to work. Those small businesses didn't ask for any tax money for economic development, all they asked for was a cheap place to work. Unless the city stops facilitating the removal of cheap places to live and work, through zoning, tax incentives and other "official" means, the answer to the question "What is affordable housing?" will be "Choosing to live anywhere but Ann Arbor." Which leads to another, more bothersome question, is there an ongoing effort to drive the less-affluent out of the city?


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 6 p.m.

Is that really a question?


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 5:08 p.m.

"Which leads to another, more bothersome question, is there an ongoing effort to drive the less-affluent out of the city?" Yes.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 3:14 p.m.

Are we talking about affordable housing or indigent housing? Big difference. Why is the rent for a luxury apartment complex located downtown given as the example of housing costs?


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

It's sad to see an article on affordable housing right next to another one on how the city is still delaying a new building that meets zoning code. Every delay raises the price of a building and every unit inside. Talk to developers and they'll tell you it takes twice as long to build in Ann Arbor as any other city. Also, each required low-income unit raises the price of the other units, so only the rich and poor can afford to live downtown, not the middle class.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

Why should one group of citizens be provided with public assistance to acquire housing they otherwise would not be able to afford when the vast majority of citizens are not eligible for this benefit?


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

Hmm... The ten plus years since these changes started happening. Would that coincide in any way with the term of our current mayor? When you elect a real estate agent mayor, there is going to be an emphasis on real estate development. And what real estate agent would push for lower cost units, when they make their money on commission? There is not a lot of money to be made providing affordable housing, therefore the only developers who will try it are those who have so much cash flow it will not effect their operations. That is why Mckinley is doing it, they can afford it, they have a history of charitable giving, they have good credit, and they know how to get things done. This is a side project for them, and I hope it happens. Now don't get me started about Near North, Lowertown, or Georgetown, any of these sites would be prime for affordable housing inclusion. But somebody on city council must have it out for affordable housing and neighborhood groceries. Until the last ten years or so, there were Krogers at Georgetown and at Broadway. These served the neighborhoods well, what happened to them? And is affordable housing in the plans for these two redevelopment areas?

Jon Wax

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 4:42 p.m.

not sure why the broadway kroger closed. probably too much rent overhead? or more likely the fact that they opened up the one on Nixon and didn't need 2 in the same 10 mile radius? But when you're talking about the north side, you're talking about Arrowwood and once you do that... careful. P.C. won't let us get too far into that conversation without it being removed from the comments list. Peace Wax

David Cahill

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 2:28 p.m., it's nice to see you doing editorials again!

Paula Gardner

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 3:09 p.m.

Thanks, David. I'm happy to get this feedback.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

Before considering building new affordable housing the City should fix its existing affordable housing. The Ann Arbor Housing Commission (AAHC) operates 360 units of affordable housing. In 2009, Schumaker and Company was commissioned to evaluate the functioning of the AAHC as well as the condition of its facilities. The final report was accepted in February 2010 and was very critical of the organization and its operations. Most importantly, the report identified over $14 million of repairs and upgrades affecting most of the public housing units. Unfortunately, the AAHC has essentially no money to invest in improving its properties. In fact, Jennifer Hall, the executive director, is considering converting units to voucher program that can bring in more money. Also being considered is private-public partnerships to create investment dollars for housing improvements. Until the city has assured that all its present affordable housing is safe and habitable no publicly funded new construction should be considered. An alternative plan is to expand the use vouchers which allows low income residents the opportunity to choose where to live rather than being confined to affordable housing ghettos. Perhaps some citizens will use their vouchers in Ypsilanti, where vacant rentals exist, and where the lower cost of living guarantees more house for the money. For those employed in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti residents may be able to use AATA buses for free through the go!pass program.

Charles Curtis

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

Maybe if city counsel considered affordable housing important more would be built. Ask why so few Habitat houses are worked on in the city? I worked a a few in the past, and the owners had to give up their home due to city taxes. Counsel refused to reduce taxes on the 'affordable homes' and those families could not pay the taxes. I think actual homes are far better low income housing properties than apartments in a big building. And with habitat the owners having to work on the property they are going to live in, there is a personal investment in the home and the owners are far more likely to maintain it. The big building apartments are no so well kept from many reports.

Jay Thomas

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 9:09 p.m.

Is that what happened? Just WOW. You think you own your house but in reality the government is the landlord.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

One workable solution to relieve the pressure on 'housing' is a fast, efficient and affordable transportation system into and out of the city. This would connect the living regions far away from the city to the features of a city people want to experience, without them having to live there. There is a different between affordable housing and Public housing, too. Public housing is a lost cause. There is plenty of affordable housing beyond the city. But the city is beyond the reach of those who 'cherish' its features. Construct some arteries and veins, the downtown gentry will exit to the extremities and the remains will become affodable. Oops, the tax base will evaporate. Forget it.

Jon Wax

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

who is paying fo rit, this transpo system you speak of? Peace Wax

say it plain

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

I still just can't believe that this City Apartments disgusting ode to snotty overindulgence, exactly the opposite of what Ann Arbor used to pride itself on and at least claim to 'stand for', is going to stand across the street from the Blind Pig. Sigh. Just too much to even contemplate's so totally over for AA being in the least anything but a wannabe bourgeois-focused town... boy did our city become a gross boring mess in the pursuit of the almighty buck. Next up, the slightly less obscene--but only slightly!--project across from Washtenaw Dairy and wow, it'll be almost over..."voila"! Personality excision and any-wealthy-pseudo-urban-enclave transformation complete!


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 10:58 p.m.

Actually, Jon, I think things have been sliding in A2 for a lot longer than 10 years, but you definitely have the right idea. If you drive around some of the neighborhoods that used to relatively nice, you see abandoned homes third world streets, poorly maintained homes that once were nice, and other evidence of decline. But we got pricey high-rises downtown, yes we do...(!?)


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 10:51 p.m.

Pseudo-hipster nonsense. Get over it. People make the city not buildings. The Pig and Fleetwood are still there so stop bemoaning their nonexistent demises.

Jon Wax

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

it stopped being ann arbor about 10 or 15 years ago. it's more like royal oak now. except the school is still here. but the mentality that we used to have in A2, which was a very cool, laid back "leave folks alone and let em do their thing" mentality is long, long gone. too many newcomers showing up in the last 10 years or so who think they know what's best for the locals. being across from the Pig just means that the pigs days are numbered. And that's sorta a sign of what i'm talking about: GREAT bands used to come to a2 to play the pig. pffff... not anymore. I gotta admit... based on the A2 vibe which is really a D.I.N.O. situation (democrat in name only)... Detroit is starting to look pretty cool. Peace Wax

Dog Guy

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

Government-subsidized affordable housing has never been any solution. It has always been a Lernaean Hydra doubling our problems, poisoning our political air, and making neighborhoods venomous with its footprints. It perverts concern for others into mutual hatred and contempt. Fortunately, government housing is not yet as common as government education.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

If you want affordable housing it has to start with affordable property taxes or city/county ownership. With the value of land downtown and the current tax rates, the annual cost to pay the taxes puts a floor on what any private owner can rent for, then there is the increasing cost of building housing to building codes with now rising building material costs. It will be very difficult for a private company or individual to provide good low cost housing when the cost drivers don't support the business case. There is affordable (by the Federal definition) housing on the AATA bus system. Unless the City is going to take the plunge back into building affordable housing again, I doubt we will see it in our lifetime. Maybe a number of the houses that have been sub-divided into student housing downtown will be put to use as affordable housing, as students move into purpose built buildings. But I suspect many of those landlords will look to cash in on the building boom, if their rents start to fall.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

So now that the city has diverted tax dollars to the downtown and built it up, they need to divert tax dollars to make it affordable to live there. Perfect.

Dirty Mouth

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

As to your comment: The demolition of the former Y - and its very-low income housing - amid promises to replace those bedrooms near downtown. That building was a bonafide wreck after the so-called renovation and I for one am glad its gone. What is annoying however, is that the land is now a primitive surface lot (DDA) and the land is going to waste.

Stan Hyne

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

Affordable of housing should be determined by demand. Raising taxes on residents because someone thinks other people should get lower costs is ridiculous. In the long term costs will determine who lives in a community. Trying to adjust the population artificially is wrong and is unfair to all involved.

Jay Thomas

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 9:03 p.m.

Agreed. It is all social engineering.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 11:39 a.m.

Tower Plaza. As soon as these new student storage facilities go on-line, people will drain out of that place, leaving loads of opportunity for low-income/subsidized apartments that the city could buy on the market, fix up, rent out to people with low income. Then, as those peoples income rises, the subsidy could be scaled back until they were paying full rent. Since the building is right downtown, there would be strong incentive to stay there. As Jane Jacobs said, "Make gradual, rather than cataclysmic, investments in public housing and the surrounding areas..." Mass projects almost always fail. The best practice seems to be weaving all income levels into the city fabric.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 10:41 a.m.

How many is too many? Besides, the renters I'm thinking of would be downtown workers, not vagrants or hobos. Fresh out of college or career restaurant employees. Nothing to fear. Low income means you have a job, just don't make much money. I'm sure the board would enjoy the resale price support from a city program like that. It's not exactly the most tony address anymore and the units would be regularly well maintained.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 11:19 p.m.

FYI: tower plaza is a condominium building with hundreds of individual owners. There is an elected board. In addition, there are new rules there preventing individual owners from purchasing too many units. I'm highly confident that the condo owners and their elected board won't approve your idea.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

AM, Your assumption seems to be that low-income people want to stay low income. When I first got out of college, I was low-income. I gradually made more and more money but at no point in the early part of that continuum could I have afforded a decent downtown apartment like Tower Plaza. People working in the downtown restaurants, bars and retail shops are forced, due to lack of affordable housing downtown, to live in the periphery and drive in. This puts unnecessary pressure on your beloved parking. If they could afford to live in Tower Plaza and walk to work, everybody wins.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

Tim and AM are both on to something. Somehow get past NIMBYISM, (easy in liberal Ann Arbor?), build or convert a tract to low income housing. Then, as property values plummet in the areas surrounding the tract, the low paid staff of will have a place to live (just don't leave valuables out). Problem solved!

Angry Moderate

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

Why on earth would their income rise when they get handouts for being low-income? Has that happened at any of the other housing projects in the area?


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 11:46 a.m.

Could start right now, actually:

Paula Gardner

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 11:27 a.m.

Also - since many of us seem to be up early today! - let us know what you're thinking on: 1. your level of concern about housing affordability in Ann Arbor 2. where housing affordability should fall on the city's priority list If you'd rather email privately, I'm at Reporters Amy Biolchini and Lizzy Alfs will be leading much of our upcoming coverage. They're at and

Paula Gardner

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 11:01 a.m.

Here are links to a couple of articles that give a sense of the overall situation with affordable housing as city council weighed a proposal from Sandi Smith last year:


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 10:54 a.m.

While I support affordable housing, this editorial does not make a compelling case. The bulk of the text describes the ongoing forces that will likely lead to a net reduction in affordable housing in or near downtown. Assuming this is true (and I agree that it is), why should we care? The only answer in the editorial is: "But the cost of not listening to concerns about our housing mix could result in the city turning into a gentrified enclave and losing the essence of what drew many people to this town in decades past." To play devil's advocate, one could just as easily argue that a gentrified enclave will continue to draw people to Ann Arbor, just for different (perhaps less morally admirable) reasons. Moreover, you could argue that the outlying areas of Ann Arbor and/or Ypsilanti will suffice just fine as affordable housing for those who need to work in downtown's restaurants and bars, as long as AATA continues to do its job. I don't really have a stronger argument to make than "society as a whole does better over the long run if we minimize the segregation amongst the economic classes," so I'm not sure I could really write a better editorial. However, if we're going to really appeal to enough of the populace to support affordable housing efforts (at the cost of real tax dollars), then we need a much stronger argument than nostalgic paeans to decades past.

Paula Gardner

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 10:53 a.m.

@1bit, We hope to drive some community discussion on how much is needed over the coming months as we focus more reporting on Ann Arbor's housing. I agree that this doesn't move to a recommendation level. I believe that the city's housing situation is changing quickly, and this pricing level for the new apartments is just one sign of that. So is McKinley's recent proposal to build affordable housing on South State.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 7:08 p.m.

Hi Paula, I don't disagree, but was hoping for more in this editorial. There are many potential solutions so take another college town, like Madison, and see what they did. Or other cities. This is an important topic and I'm glad to see showing interest. I'm also glad to see real editorials again and want to encourage you in this effort, but also want to encourage real quality. I'd be interested in seeing the editorial board take a real stand, even a controversial one, so that the discussion moves forward. Good luck in your efforts!

Paula Gardner

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 10:46 a.m.

Great questions. From my recollection, many previous discussions, like about the units lost at the demolished Y, centered on keeping "officially" affordable for very-low income folks in downtown. And I think the city's been successful at maintaining a range of affordability on its outskirts, at least so far. It's in and near downtown where it seems like the city is most at risk for losing its lower-end pricing. Some might say that's not bad, given the condition of some buildings. I also struggle a bit with the definition of affordable. I'm always a little shocked when I see what's "officially" affordable, according to federal guidelines. It's seemed to me that people in those income ranges could pay less for housing in market-rate properties and not the "official' affordable ones. I don't know whether that's true anymore, as market rate rents climb on many rentals.

Paula Gardner

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

I was thinking of areas like Platt Road and North & South Maple as outskirts.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

So what do you call the "outskirts" of town? Anything outside the DDA boundaries?


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 10:42 a.m.

This is a good start for an editorial. How much affordable housing is needed? Other cities mandate affordable housing, why not name a few and give suggestions as to how this can be accomplished? Student housing returning to single family residences actually may be a solution to the problem. So, nice try and I rate this as an "incomplete" (you even have an empty bullet point! On an editorial!).

Paula Gardner

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 10:47 a.m.

Just fixed that formatting error. Thanks for pointing out.

Chip Reed

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 10:39 a.m.

As Rick Blaine said in Casablanca, "We'll always have Ypsilanti".


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:11 a.m.

beardown - Not so. They are also interested in putting "affordable housing" - i.e., low income housing, - in my neighborhood, bringing our housing values down and our crime rates up. But never in the $300,000 range neighborhoods. Only ours. Then they squawk about how they love their diverse neighborhoods.

Chip Reed

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

We're all in this together. Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti are so close to each other that they nearly overlap (in the area east of Carpenter).


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Thats the only mindset I've ever known from Ann Arbor citizens. Elitist, speaking of diversity, but not only interested in it if it is someone else's town so that it doesn't bring down their housing values.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 10:33 a.m.

A couple of things about this, first, what is the definition of 'affordable' housing? Is it a fixed number or is it a percentage of the going rates? I am going to go out on a limb here and say that everyone probably has a different idea of what it is, especially if it is fix number. The second is the location of 'affordable' housing. Does it have to be in the downtown area or can it be in the outlying areas of the city.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 6:35 p.m.

To your second question on location, there's not a hard and fast regulatory answer to where affordable housing "must" be. Newer measures of affordability *are* taking into account transportation costs in addition to housing costs, though -- more central locations are generally better in these measures because they offer a family more access to goods, services, and jobs for a lower travel cost, through walking or transit.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 6:24 p.m.

Generally, Federal guidelines for "affordability" look to have the monthly cost of a family's housing (including rent, taxes, and utilities) be no more than 30% of that family's monthly income. Defining a category of "affordable housing" is done by comparison to the median family income ("AMI") for a metro area. Different Federal and state programs use different ratios of AMI to define affordability. The "HOME" program, for example, looks at 65% of the AMI as the cutoff for low income--about $37k/year in the Ann Arbor metro area. For this household, housing is only "affordable" if the total cost is no more than $926 / mo--again, including rent or mortgage, taxes, utilities, etc.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

The soon to be finished A2 City Apts WILL NOT be accepting gov subsidized renters....and the "affordable" units will be studios...a single person can get on the list for a 490 sf unit with a max income of $36000....a two person unit about 50 sf larger will cap about $50K max income. This complex also has minimum income levels....Ann Arbor really has no clue about average incomes.

Jon Wax

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 10:25 a.m.

" losing the essence of what drew many people to this town in decades past" too late. lost it long, long ago. Peace Wax


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 11:14 p.m.

Hmm. The university is still here last I checked.