Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance adds 25 new housing units for needy in city

The Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance has again expanded its portfolio of low-income housing units in the city of Detroit, opening a new building in the Milwaukee Junction area of Detroit. The alliance has plans to add even more housing and community buildings in the near future. (Photos by Valaurian Waller | Detroit Catholic)

New housing complex in Milwaukee Junction brings the alliance up to 130 units across city, with more on the horizon, executive director says

DETROIT — The Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance has added 25 new, low-income housing units in the city of Detroit as part of its ongoing plan to provide affordable, quality housing for Detroiters in need.

The building, located at 258 E. Milwaukee, is a brand new build, said DCPA executive director John Thorne, developed in partnership with MHT Housing and its president, T. Van Fox. Since the building’s opening on June 11, five residents had moved in, with 90 currently on the waiting list. With the new building, the Catholic nonprofit now has 130 units of affordable housing in its portfolio. 

“This new building is amazing because every unit has a washer and dryer included in the unit,” Thorne said. “Every unit comes with a 42-inch flat-screen Smart TV. There’s also a community room on the first floor that is open to the residents that has board games and refrigerators and tables.”

In addition to the in-unit amenities, the building offers private parking for its residents and is within walking distance of local transportation and other services. Thorne said the building also has 2,000 square feet of commercial space, which will be occupied soon. 

John Thorne, executive director of the Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance, stands in one of the 25 new units. Each unit comes with a washer and dryer, a 42-inch flatscreen TV, and parking is free for all residents. 

Thirteen of the building’s units are part of the project-based voucher program, a component of the Detroit Housing Commission, which provides rental assistance to low-income families. 

After 365 days spent living in the building, those in the PBV units can qualify for a Section 8 voucher that they can take anywhere, Thorne said. 

“It’s an aid to those who are not able to make enough money, who need the extra boost and this voucher does just that,” Thorne said. “Here at the alliance, our aim is to be a developer of low-income housing. And so we just want to make sure that we can have an impact and a difference.”

Thorne said there is a long-term plan to create another 36-unit apartment building on Gratiot near the Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance’s office and an additional 20 townhomes. He said the alliance is committed to continuing to find ways to make a sizable impact. 

And Thorne is not stopping there. The alliance is planning to launch a $2 million campaign this fall to reopen the east-side Brighter Detroit Community Center, with the needs of the community in mind. The hope is to see it become a hotspot for the community, Thorne said. 

Thorne said that the new building provides a launching point for those looking for a leg up in life. 

“We have a computer lab, and there will be WiFi accessible all around the campus,” Thorne said. “We want to add a commercial kitchen, to have a culinary program for the community. (We want to) put a recording studio and a video studio in for the young people to be able to make videos. We want to create a business model in which the program will be self-sufficient, but we’ll also be able to pay the young people who work in the program.”

Finally, the alliance will be re-imagining the Father Singer Community Park, named after Fr. Jerome Singer, former pastor of Nativity Parish who passed away in 2014.

“I’m just grateful for this opportunity to serve,” Thorne said. “My life is fractured all over the place and it’s not directly related to the Church, but it’s still the work of the Church each and every day. We are still anchoring ourselves in that mission that Jesus gave us.”