'It's a game to them': Wyoming man searches for affordable housing

Grand Rapids homes for all

WYOMING, MICH. - Carl Abell can see and feel the gentrification happening, even though he lives in Wyoming. He's been living in the same home for almost a decade, and now he says, he's on the verge of losing it. 

"I live in Wyoming, near Burton and Clyde Park," Abell said.

Abell and his wife have been living in the upstairs unit of a home in Wyoming -- near Burton and Clyde Park -- for 10 years. Recently, the home was purchased by a new property owner. 

"I haven't been able to contact them, they haven't contacted us, if they don't contact you, that means you're getting an eviction notice," Abell said.

He said the realtor told him that he and his downstairs neighbor are on the chopping block -- and without reason, meaning he and his wife will need to find another place to go. 

"I've probably called about 100 places already, that's just a conservative estimate," Abell said. "Filled up, that's it, we have a housing crisis in Grand Rapids."

Abell's declining health makes it even more challenging. 

"I can't drive, I'm visually impaired, have an amputated right leg -- part of it, half of it, and I've got neuropathy in this leg so I can't drive," Abell said. He said this all stems from greed. 

"They don't see us as human beings, they just see as Boardwalk or Park Place it's just money to them, that's all it is," Abell said. "Money and property, that's it. It's a game to them."

Which is why volunteer organizations like Grand Rapids Homes For All are trying their best to bridge the gap. Since last year, the organization has been fighting for residents to 'Reclaim, Remain and Rebuild' Grand Rapids. 

"Gentrification is happening everywhere, and it's happening so fast," said Grand Rapids Homes For All Talor Musil. "We're finding that development is happening so quickly that it's happening before residents have a say in what's going on."

"Then all of a sudden they're being kicked out of their homes and they're having to move outside of Grand Rapids from the neighborhoods that they've lived in forever."

Leaving people like Abell have very limited options. 

"I'm very vulnerable against bad people, somebody could take advantage of me very easily because I'm sick and I'm like this, so it's pretty much a death sentence over money and property, it makes no sense. I'm a good person, I haven't done anything to harm anybody -- I just want to live," Abell said.

On Tuesday the Grand Rapids City Commissioners unveiled an affordable housing proposal to not only create incentives for developers but to protect residents from losing their homes. 

Grand Rapids Homes For All volunteers said they are encouraging residents to engage with their commissioners while city leaders continue to discuss and develop the housing package. 

►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WZZM 13 app now.

Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

© 2017 WZZM-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment