Google to help Detroit build new affordable housing locator tool

City chosen by Google.org’s Fellowship Program to address widespread need for affordable housing search tool

FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2021, file photo, a "For Rent" sign is posted in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2021, file photo, a "For Rent" sign is posted in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

DETROIT – The philanthropic arm of tech company Google will help the city of Detroit to build a search tool that helps people find affordable housing.

Officials announced Monday that the city of Detroit has been chosen to participate in Google.org’s Fellowship Program, through which Google employees will support the city as it works on the affordable housing locator tool free of charge.

The goal of the tool is to simplify searching and applying for affordable housing in Detroit by listing all available housing on one platform that is updated frequently, officials said. In addition to listing available housing options, the tool will also reportedly educate users about how affordable housing works, the processes required to participate and the specific eligibility criteria.

“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,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “I am deeply appreciative to our partners at Google.org 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.”

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Detroit officials say there are currently 24,000 units of unregulated affordable housing, with nearly 5,000 of those having been developed or preserved since 2018.

The tool is expected to launch late in the fall of 2021, and Google employees will support the development efforts for six months, officials said.

“Google and Mayor Duggan’s administration share a commitment to creating opportunity for everyone,” said Rob Biederman, Head of Midwest Government Affairs for Google. “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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