Free Homes for Writers

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Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:40 pm Post

I seem to be on a free binge today. Someone posted to that Teleread story about free Amtrack tickets for writers a link to a plan to create a writer's colony in Detroit with free homes.

http://www.shareable.net/blog/giving-aw ... in-detroit

Write a House hasn’t given away any houses yet, but it’s already received loads of national press—from Forbes to the LA Times to the New Yorker—and raised over $18,000 toward its $25,000 fundraising campaign for restoring dilapidated houses to give away to writers.

The Detroit-based upstart nonprofit has a new spin on a writer’s residency program: instead of a temporary writer’s residency, Write a House is seeking to make writers permanent residents of the city, literally by giving writers the deeds to their houses after they’ve lived in them for two years.


Here's a link to Write a House itself:

http://writeahouse.org/

They mention being open to writers from anywhere, not just the U.S.

Yes, I know. This is Detroit where the average response time to a 911 call is about an hour. The city is bankrupt, so public services are dismal. You'd need to be able to look out for yourself and perhaps pay particularly attention to being part of a colony of writers close together. Then again, with the home essentially free and perhaps enough land for a little garden, your living expenses would become very low. And if you want a dark and gloomy place in which to write end-of-civilization epics or zombie wars, you couldn't find a better place.

And if the plan does well and builds a safe community, after perhaps five years or so, you might sell that free home for enough to make a good start toward buying a home someplace a bit less stressful. Also, keep in mind that at its peak Detroit was one of the wealthiest cities in the country, so beneath a dilapidated exterior might actually lie a quite nice home waiting to be set free.

Time magazine has pictures of the city's magnificence even in decay:

http://content.time.com/time/photogalle ... 89,00.html

--Mike Perry

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AmberV
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Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:32 pm Post

Interestingly enough, there is another bankrupt U.S. entity that is thinking of offering free writer's residency, for a few days anyway, as you take Amtrak across the continent. They are only in the planning phase, it may never even pan out, but at least one pair of journalists has taken a pilot trip.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

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Thu Jun 05, 2014 6:39 pm Post

Those who're thinking of moving to Detroit for free or almost free house, might want to go here:

http://weburbanist.com/2014/06/04/decay ... ormations/

It has pictures from Google Street View showing just have far down some neighborhoods have gone in the four years from 2009 and 2013.

Here's one remark:

The Street View images are often astonishing in the rapid transition in a span of just a few short years. A stretch of houses may have cars parked in the driveways, toys on the lawn and other signs of life all around in the first image, while by the third or fourth they’re barely discernible among the overgrowth.


Keep in mind that the impact of this urban decay and desertion isn't uniform. Some neighborhoods are staying the same and a few may even be improving.

You can find more pictures here:

http://goobingdetroit.tumblr.com

--Mike

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Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:33 pm Post

"Vacation home" isn't the first thought that comes into my mind when I think of Detroit, but here's an article on just that:

http://www.themorningnews.org/article/d ... te-of-mind

At least it's likely to be a cheap vacation home. Just don't bother to call 911 if there's trouble.

--Mike

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Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:18 pm Post

re/code has an article on a small core of mostly young software developers who, attracted by the cheap, decaying, but once elegant housing, are moving into Detroit:

http://recode.net/2015/02/12/beyond-rui ... n-detroit/


Sample:

Nussenbaum is 24. He lives with his co-founders in the Detroit neighborhood of New Center. Last year they bought the house we’re standing in for $8,200 at tax auction. It had been left empty and half-renovated and scrapped for four years.

The three-story brick mansion does look a lot like a frat house. It’s in a neighborhood built a hundred years ago to house General Motors executives, on a block that’s currently about two-thirds occupied. And there are a few Wayne State fraternities down the block, so my question about the frat house wasn’t that far off.

Nussenbaum, Tim Dingman and Scott Lowe raised crowdfunding online to buy the building, but then realized the total rehab budget was more like $200,000. So they formed a company and took outside investment. “We’re underwater,” Nussenbaum says.

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Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:48 am Post

The downside of a Detroit's cheap homes is that it's not only a city of crooked politicians, there are other crooks lurking, ready to take advantage of those wanting a home of their own. Here is one story.

One family fights to win their house back in the Wayne County foreclosure auction after being scammed by a sub-subprime entrepreneur


http://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/one-f ... id=2379234

--Mike Perry

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Johnnywalker
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Wed Nov 25, 2015 6:48 am Post

It is very interesting one.I want to be there.I saw your link.It was amazing.Actually the writers want silence for their writing.They want cool atmosphere for their creativity.So its really good free homes for writers.

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Fri Oct 28, 2016 5:15 pm Post

Publishers Weekly just released an article about those once-free homes for writers in Detroit. Now they are to be rent-free.

Beginning in 2017, writers who apply to live in one of the nonprofit's renovated houses will have the option to stay there rent-free for as long as they wish, but they will no longer have the chance to own the home. Write A House will, moving forward, maintain ownership of the homes in order to combat what it describes as a "narrative of real estate speculation, house flipping [and] gentrification."

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-t ... house.html

Just keep in mind there's a downside to living in Detroit.

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Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:19 pm Post

I think it's great that the ownership of the houses remains with Write a House, keeping them available for whole new batches of writers.
Is there something similar in the UK? I have the beginnings of a story set in the UK and would love the chance to be within the environment.
Not for a while though.
Keep up the good work Write a House.