By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Detroit–Oakman Place Apartments, an affordable housing property for homeless youth and families, has opened its doors on Oakman Blvd., just east of the headquarters of Focus: HOPE, a nonprofit that provides career training, a food program and other services. Lutheran Child & Family Service of Michigan (LCFS) partnered with Focus: HOPE to develop the project, which was designed by Fusco, Shaffer & Pappas Inc.
Also participating in the development were the Wayne County Continuum of Care-Homeless Coalition, the city of Detroit, Wayne County and the Oakman Boulevard Community Association. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority provided financing for the $3.4 million project
Of the property’s 24 total residences, nine one-bedroom units will be reserved for homeless youth and one two-bedroom unit for a homeless youth with a child. The remaining 14 units will be made available to families earning 60 percent or less of the area median income.
The impetus for the development is the difficult situation that young adults who were former foster children often face when leaving the foster-care system. In fact, through its work with children and families, LCFS has identified the lack of affordable housing as one of the most significant challenges facing these young adults. A survey of former Wayne County former foster-care youth revealed that 47 percent of the respondents have experienced one or more periods of homelessness prior to age 20 and that 23 percent were homeless immediately upon leaving foster care.
LCFS has contracted with Premier Property Management LLC, which currently manages over 35 apartment and townhouse residential facilities, to manage Oakman Place Apartments. The organization will also provide supportive services on site at the new development. Each resident youth will receive the services of a case manager, an educational liaison and an employment specialist.