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September 08, 1988 - Image 67

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-09-08

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 8, 1988 - Page 11

ANN ARBOR ISSUES

Low-income housing

gap grows

BY ALYSSA LUSTIGMAN
For students, finding a place to live is a difficult, but
not unsolvable, problem. The option to live in a
dormitory, apartment, house, or cooperative almost al-
ways exists.
But for many Ann Arbor residents, affordable
housing is not so easy to obtain. Residents who are
forced to pay more than 30 percent of their income for
rent and utilities are eligible for "low-income housing."
And Ann Arbor housing officials say the demand for
low-income housing is growing steadily.
"Some see Ann Arbor as an elite
community. But if we lose our af-
fordable housing, we will lose the
diversity we have," said Ann Arbor
HOUSING City Councilmember Kathy Edgren
(D-5th Ward).
"Some see Ann Arbor as an elite community. But if
we lose our affordable housing, we will lose the diver-
sity we have," said Ann Arbor City Councilmember
Kathy Edgren (D-5th Ward).
LARRY FRIEDMAN, planning coordinator for the
Ann Arbor Community Development department,
agreed. "The housing market in Ann Arbor is very
high-priced," he said. "The need for affordable housing
is a growing trend based on the price of real estate,
new construction, and rising single-family rents."
Last year, more than 100 units originally set aside
for low-income tenants were either torn down or con-

verted in new construction projects, Friedman added.
The most recent city report on the community's
housing needs, based on 1980 census figures, said that
out of 41,000 households in the city, about 8,600 - or
21 percent - are considered "inadequately housed,"
he said. This figure also includes homeless city resi-
dents and those in substandard housing conditions as
well as those paying more than 30 percent of their in-
come for rent, Friedman said.
'Some see Ann Arbor as an elite com-
munity. But if we lose our affordable
housing, we will lose the diversity we
have.'
-Ann Arbor City Councilmember
Kathy Edgren (D-5th Ward).
The national median income in 1988 for one person
is $27,000. $21,500 a year or less is considered low
income, and $13,500 or less is considered very low in-
come.
THE ANN ARBOR City Council has been de-
bating the low-income housing issue for years.
Democrats traditionally maintain that the city doesn't
spend enough on housing, while Republicans say it's
not the city's responsibility to pick up the slack of Ann
Arbor's homeless and low-income populations.

Edgren said affordable housing may slip as a prior-
ity now that the Republicans control city council.
"The Republicans are working for the merchants
downtown... there is not as much interest or commit-
ment to making sure people have affordable housing,"
Edgren said.
But City Councilmember Terry Martin (R-2nd
Ward) said she has some concerns about the city's role
in low-income housing. "We're already the biggest
landlord in Ann Arbor. I just wonder how much of the
landlord role we should play," she said, adding that she
wanted to make sure city funds were getting to those
who needed them most.
CITY COUNCILMEMBER Tom Richardson (R-
5th Ward) said, "Ann Arbor should make a concerted
effort to help low-income residents, but we cannot
solve all the state's population problems. There has to
be a limit to the amount of housing we provide,"
Richardson said, adding that the city only needs to
provide affordable housing for about 15 percent of the
population.
While city council debates the solution, the list of
Ann Arbor residents seeking low-income housing is
growing. More than 500 candidates are signed up for
the 352-person capacity Rental Assistance Community
Development Program, a federal progran that pays the
difference between the rent and 30 percent of the resi-
dent's income, Friedman said.
The Ann Arbor Housing Commission, which owns

and operates about 342 low-rent public housing units
for very low-income residents, has a waitlist of several
hundred people, said Bonnie Newland, director of
public housing.
The city approved the addition of single-room
occupancy units to the Ann Arbor YMCA as another
step to alleviating the low-income problem.
THE CITY WILL help to guarantee the YMCA's
loan and will help the YMCA complete the payment
'We're already the biggest landlord in
Ann Arbor. I just wonder how much of
the landlord role we should play.'
-Ann Arbor City Councilmember
Terry Martin (R-2nd Ward).
schedule if it is unable to. The project, which will add
37 additional rooms, is estimated to cost $1.8 million.
A consortium of banks may provide a loan of $1.2
million, and the rest of the money may come through
federal grants.
The project, sponsored by Mayor Gerald Jernigan
and City Councilmember Larry Hunter (D-1st Ward),
is currently receiving bipartisan support.
"We have to take steps to alleviate the problem of
affordable housing in the city," said Jernigan. "Rig°t
now, we don't have enough money to fully solve the
See Housing, Page 'J

Rape, crack dealing top police list of city concerns

BY STEVE KNOPPER
Crack dealing. Rape. Burglary
It happens in Ann Arbor, and lo-
cal police and politicians are con-
stantly debating how to stop it.
"A lot of young (students) come
from areas not densely populated,"
said Ann Arbor Police Chief Wil-
liam Corbett, "and they're easily vic-
timized."
POLICE To combat city
P crime, Corbett
maintains that the
Police Department
needs more officers
on the streets.
"This town is growing, and it's
becoming more complex," he said.
"We can't continue to do our jobs
with the same number of officers."
Last year, the Police Department
received five new officers, said City
Administrator Godfrey Collins.
Though the department asked for 60
more officers this year, Collins said
they would receive a much lower
number.
A relatively new Ann Arbor

crime issue, Corbett said, is the in-
creased dealing of crack, a smokeable
form of cocaine more addictive than
powder cocaine. When crack-related
crimes began to appear in Ann Arbor
and nearby Ypsilanti, the police
weren't prepared to do anything,
Corbett said.
"BUT THEN IT began to
manifest itself," he said, "and now
we literally have an epidemic on our
hands." In 1987 the police started
136 drug-related investigations, and
made 152 purchases of crack cocaine
for evidence. Overall, he said, the
police made 99 drug-related arrests,
and the "vast majority" involved
crack.
"We are directing as many of our
resources and efforts as we can on
crack cocaine," Corbett said. "We
need to be taking a harder look at
prevention and education."
City Councilmember Jeff Epton
(D-2nd Ward), who often opposes
the police department on crime is-
sues, cited Ann Arbor's crack prob-
lem as its most serious. "Crack is a

narcotic in its cheapest, most addic-
tive form," he said. "It's associated
with violence in a way the use of
heroin wasn't."
POLICE CANNOT do much
about the problem, Epton said, other
than respond to reports of crack
houses in the city.
Epton said the city must create
treatment programs for people with
low income. Police, he said, are
frightened of the dangers of crack and
crack-related violence. "Scared people
with guns don't exercise the neces-
sary level of caution," he said.
Prevention and education also are
considered the best ways to deal with
other crimes, such as sexual assault.
The most common form of rape,
said Julie Steiner, director of the
University's Sexual Assault Preven-
tion and Awareness Center, involves
dates and acquaintances.
"VERY FEW rapes get re-
ported to law enforcement officers,"
Steiner said. Though she said the
University's public safety depart-
ment is doing a good job in pro-

cessing rape reports, she added that
the Ann Arbor Police are less in-
formed.
The police department, she said,
can help by answering calls more
effectively, and by promoting its
Neighborhood Watch Program.
"More than the Ann Arbor police,
I've seen a really great level of
cooperation with (Neighborhood
Watch) in terms of campus secu-
rity," Steiner said. "The Ann Arbor
police won't call us or the Assault
Crisis Center."
SHE SAID campus officers re-
ceive eight hours of training on sex-
ual assault, while city police only
receive two.
Corbett, however, said the police
department was "sensitized" to han-
dling rape reports. But with acquain-
tance and date rape, he said, "There's
very little the police department can
do to prevent that."
The number of "forcible" rape
cases in Ann Arbor Went up from 42
in 1986 to 57 in 1987, according to
the annual police report. Officials

attributed the jump to an increase in
the percentage of reported rapes -
rather than an increase in the number
of actual rapes.
But Steiner said such statistics are
misleading.
"FORCIBLE" RAPE, she
said, only includes first-degree rape.
If the police department listed other
sexual assaults in its report, she es-
timated the number would be close
to 200.
Steiner said more people are re-
porting rape because organizations
like SAPAC are doing more to edu-
cate the public. "The more we talk
about it, the more people who expe-
rience rape want to talk about it."
Last year, 2,500 people attended
SAPAC-sponsored workshops, she

said.
City Councilmember Ann Marie
Coleman (D-1st Ward) attributed the
number of reported forcible rapes to,
"the very important work every-,
body's been doing." She prais6d the
Citizen's Committee on Rape Pre-
vention and SAPAC for heightening
awareness about sexual assault.
Some councilmembers say the
police are ineffective when dealing'
with sexual assault, and often crime
in general. During his four years on
city council, Epton has maintained
that the police department is less
important than many people believe.
"THE POLICE ought to admit
that they can't do shit about crime,"
Epton said. "When it comes to pre-
See Crime, Page 12,

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