In the West side neighborhood of Delray, many homes are already abandoned. Several have been just left to rot on their foundations. The Anderson family knows this, because they have been living in Delray for their entire lives. But today, they get to wake up in a safe new neighborhood thanks to a local program.
Delray sits on the far West side of Detroit near the Canadian border. For decades, this place on the edge of a map was largely forgotten by civic leaders and left to fall to ruin. A new bridge to Canada is set to be built nearby, but that is the first infrastructure project in the neighborhood in decades. “The roads were not maintained, there were empty lots, and then people started moving out with the first mention of the bridge years ago,” Detroit City Councilwoman Raquel Constañeda-López, who represents District 6, which includes Delray, told the Detroit News. “Folks who could leave left, and some chose to stay.” The Andersons chose to stay, because there was no way they could leave. Until now.
A new program called Bridging Neighborhoods for residents of Delray allows any homeowner to swap their home with a newer, more structurally sound home in a different neighborhood of Detroit. The Andersons moved from Delray to Morningside and have some adjustments to make. “We’re used to hearing trains all night, so this takes getting used to,” Robert Anderson said to the Detroit News.
Robert’s old home will be demolished as per the program requirements. “Most of the houses here are in bad shape, and people can’t afford the repairs,” said Anderson, who has lived in Delray since he was a child. “These houses wouldn’t sell for anything, so to get something better is a blessing to me.”