Google partners with Detroit to develop search tool for affordable housing

May 4, 2021 at 11:25 am
click to enlarge Google's building in downtown Detroit. - Shutterstock
Google's building in downtown Detroit.

The city of Detroit is teaming up with Google to help Detroiters find affordable housing.’s Fellowship Program will provide 13 employees — at no cost to the city — to develop a mobile-friendly search tool for lower-income housing options.

The goal is to make it easier for Detroiters to search and apply for affordable housing.

The employees will work with the city’s Housing & Revitalization Department (HRD) on its mission to help Detroiters rent and stay in the city.

“We are proud of the work we are doing to preserve and create thousands of affordable housing units across the city, but it doesn’t help if the people who need them don’t know how to find them,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a news release. “I am deeply appreciative to our partners at Fellows to develop a tool that will help more Detroiters find the right housing options so they can have the opportunity to live affordably in the neighborhood of their choice.”

When the portal is finished later this year, city officials said the search feature will enable Detroiters to use search filters to scroll through the housing options and learn how the process works.

The development of the search tool comes as Duggan’s administration is ramping up the number of affordable housing units. The city has about 24,000 units of regulated affordable housing, including nearly 5,000 that have been preserved or developed since 2018.

But one of the challenges has been helping residents find and apply for the housing.

“We hear weekly from Detroiters who need help in finding available affordable housing, so the Google Fellows will be helping us address an incredible need in our city,” Julie Schneider, interim director of HRD, said.

“Google and Mayor Duggan’s administration share a commitment to creating opportunity for everyone,” Rob Biederman, head of Midwest government affairs for Google, said. “By bringing together the best of Google’s technical expertise and resources with the City’s first-hand knowledge of the community’s needs, we hope to have a lasting positive impact for the residents of Detroit by helping make affordable housing even more accessible to people all across the city.”

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