Mayor Duggan helps break ground on 14 apartments for low-income disabled Detroiters on the far east side


Mayor Duggan helps break ground on 14 apartments for low-income disabled Detroiters on the far east side

  • Residents will not pay more than 30% of their income each month thanks to vouchers through the Detroit Housing Commission.
  • Detroit-based, minority-owned Nova Development hopes to complete $5.4M project in 2023.
  • City invested $2M in funding in development, which replaces vacant land near major intersection along border with Grosse Pointe Park.

DETROIT – Mayor Mike Duggan joined City officials and Nova Development Group of Detroit today to break ground on 14 new deeply affordable housing units on Mack and Alter roads on the city’s east side.

These apartments will be specifically geared toward low-income disabled Detroiters, ensuring access to affordable, quality housing within the city limits. To qualify for one of these units, applicants must have a physical or mental disability under Detroit Housing Commission (DHC) supportive service guidelines.

All 14 units offer affordable rates at 50 percent to 60 percent area median income (AMI), but no resident of the Mack Alter Homes will pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent and utilities thanks to project-based vouchers through DHC, which will pay the difference. Construction is expected to take about 14-months and is scheduled to be completed in July 2023. The affordability is guaranteed for 30 years.

Funding for the $5.4 million ground-up project includes $1.8 million in federal HOME funds and $179,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding through the Detroit Housing & Revitalization Department. The City also is providing a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) program, which allows the developer to pay a 10% fee on the total rents they collect each year, rather than the regular property tax rate. The land for the project, located at 3141 Alter in the Riverbend neighborhood, was bought from the Detroit Land Bank Authority.

“This project is an example of this administration’s commitment to building a Detroit for everyone,” Mayor Duggan said. “It will not only provide an affordable and beautiful place to call home but also represents an investment in the far east side as we continue to build back our neighborhoods.


Mack Alter Homes
The Mack Alter Homes will offer 14 units for Detroiters with disabilities. Steven C. Flum Architects


The apartments are being built by Nova Development Group of Detroit LLC, a minority-owned company whose principals are Doug Dillard and Andrew Creamer. The project has been several years in the making, but the dedicated development team stuck with it to overcome construction cost increases, COVID delays, and other challenges.

“We believe strongly in empowering people and creating opportunity for all Detroiters,” said Creamer. “The City has stuck with us, and we appreciate the investment the City has made in this project, both in terms of investment and in the persistent care, attention, and follow-through you might expect to be given to big projects. Nova is honored to be a Detroit developer and proud to be bringing quality affordable housing to residents.”

Creamer, a former DHC employee, and Dillard have spent decades developing affordable housing and improving the quality and efficiency of lower-income housing across the state, particularly on the east side of Detroit. Their previous projects have focused on creating safe housing for survivors of domestic violence and for those who were homeless.

“All Detroiters of all incomes deserve to live in quality, affordable housing, including those with disabilities,” said Sandra Henriquez, CEO of the Detroit Housing Commission. “The Detroit Housing Commission is proud to partner with Nova Development and the City of Detroit’s Housing & Revitalization Department to help more of our fellow Detroiters find that quality housing.”

Detroiters with disabilities make up a large, but diverse and underserved, segment of the city’s population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Detroit is home to more than 128,000 residents living with disabilities (19.2% of the overall Detroit population). That is 1 out of 5 residents living with a disability.

“Individuals with disabilities need resources to live independently, to raise their family, and to work in Detroit, but they have shared with me their struggles in finding long-term housing that is accessible and affordable,” said Christopher Samp, director of Disability Affairs for the Detroit Department of Civil Rights, Inclusion & Opportunity. “Developers like Nova Development improve and expand the city’s supply of accessible and affordable housing. Thank you, Doug Dillard and Andrew Creamer, for supporting the City’s commitment to creating affordable housing opportunities for everyone, including the disability community.”

The development has 12 two-bedroom apartments and two one-bedroom apartments. There will be an on-site supportive services program that will provide life skills case management for the residents. There are also amenities next door, such as a shopping plaza that includes a Rite Aid pharmacy.

“This project is especially important because it will help some of the groups that need quality, affordable housing the most,” said Julie Schneider, director of the Housing & Revitalization Department. "The key mission of our department is to create an inclusive city for all, and the Mack Alter Homes will be a major step in helping us realize that goal.”

The new apartments along the border of Grosse Pointe Park also will bring improvements to an area that has lacked considerable investment in recent years. The Mack Alter Homes also will contribute to a much-improved gateway between the two communities.

Representatives from Councilmember Latisha Johnson also attended the groundbreaking ceremony.

“Today is a great day for District 4 and the Riverbend community as we celebrate a key investment, not only in affordable housing but in our people,” Johnson said. “Over 14 years as a community leader, I've seen the importance of housing sustainability and creating equity and opportunity for those who need it most. This project will play an important role in ensuring that Detroiters with disabilities are not left out or left behind as our city continues its resurgence.”

The developers also wanted to thank the Michigan State Housing Development Authority for providing additional funding for the project, and Cinnaire for being the Mack Alter Homes’ tax credit syndicator. The Mack Alter Homes were designed by Hamtramck-based Steven C. Flum Architects.