Threats to and Opportunities for Low-Income Homeownership, Housing Stability, and Health: Protocol for the Detroit 2017 Make-It-Home Evaluation Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Oct 26;18(21):11230. doi: 10.3390/ijerph182111230.


Few studies have examined the combined effects of affordability, housing conditions and neighborhood characteristics on the housing stability and health of low-income homeowners. We begin to address these gaps through a mixed-method study design that evaluates the Make-it-Home program (MiH) in Detroit, Michigan, aimed at helping low-income tenants become homeowners when their landlords lose their homes to tax foreclosure. We compare the 'intervened group' of MiH homeowners to a 'comparison' group of similarly situated households whose homes experience property tax foreclosure at the same time. The comparison group represents the likely outcomes for the participants had they not participated the program. Participants will be surveyed twice (intervened group), or once (comparison group) per year over a three-year period, regarding their housing and neighborhood conditions, health, life events, and socio-economic status, including income and employment. We will use property and neighborhood census data to further examine the conditions experienced. The findings for policy and program development from this study are timely as the nation faces a chronic shortage of affordable housing for both purchasers and renters. The results suggest ways to improve the MiH program and lay out approaches for researchers to navigate some of the complexities associated with this type of research.

Keywords: Detroit; health inequities; housing instability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Family Characteristics
  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Poverty*
  • Residence Characteristics