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Metro Detroiters say their rents are increasing at unsustainable rates

Posted at 5:37 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 17:37:59-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Sharell Lockett is cutting in more ways than one. The stylist at the 21st Century Salon on Livernois in Detroit is working hard to increase her income to cover an extreme increase in rent in just the last year at her apartment in Warren and decrease her spending.

“Whether it is a Netflix subscription or gas. Whatever I can do to save a dollar, I do it,” said Lockett

Her rent has increased about 23% in the last year.

“I was paying $649 when I moved into my apartment. And now I am paying $800,” she said.

“Our rent went up $100 more,” said Jequoia Bell, another stylist at 21st Century Salon who says her rent in Farmington Hills increased recently.

The increase in costs came while the pandemic created challenges. Her son has autism and at times COVID-19 distrusted schooling, leaving her needn’t to provide care when normally she would work.

“They’re not going to school you have to stay home. Someone has to,” said Bell.

They are not alone.

A analysis of government survey data found that nationwide 16.8% of renters are behind on rent. Here in Metro Detroit, the number is even greater in the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan metro area - hitting 25.8%.

“There is no solution to the buying or rental market without more inventory,” said Teri Spiro, President of the Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors.

Spiro says it is a problem caused by a shortage of housing. Typical entry-level home buyers have been priced out of the market and are living in rentals.

She says communities need to take action.

“They should be looking at zoning a little differently. There’s vacant commercial space. There are buildings underutilized. We need to be creative,” said Spiro.

“We’re really all in this together,” said Luz Meza, the Wayne County Director of Economic Development.

She says the county has received millions in federal pandemic relief dollars. Twelve-point-nine percent of renters applied nationwide. Nineteen percent of renters in the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn metro area applied for the federal funding.

Meza says Wayne County has done a lot of work to communicate the money is available to ensure those who need it have a chance to apply.

“The money is there. We really encourage people to tell their neighbors, anyone who can benefit from this program,” said Meza.

“It was an easy process,” said Bell, who says she is grateful the pandemic funding helped her and others impacted.

You can learn more about the Wayne County Emergency Rental Assistance Program at The State of Michigan also has resources at