I’m not even joking. Detroit, which is both a centre of urban innovation and a festering cesspit of corruption and the last, twitching appendage of the Industrial Revolution, is giving away free houses to writers.
Like, to live in.
Write A House is Detroit-based literary organization that uses the wide range of available home stock in Detroit to build up support for the literary arts in the city.
Detroit visual arts & Detroit musical arts have gotten a ton of attention over the years, but we believe this is a city that could really use some more writers.
And we believe writers should have nice homes. Write A House invests money in vocational training to renovate vacant homes and then awards the homes to emerging writers. It’s like a writer’s in residence program, but the writers get to keep the homes, forever. It’s pretty much that simple.
We want you to be involved in building our first home! We are raising money to cover a big chunk of the renovation costs of one house. Our goal will take us approximately ½ way there. The rest we will be raising through work with outreach with local and national arts foundations. Any additional monies raised will be applied to our other homes. (For our initial year, we have purchased 3 houses to renovate.)
We are partnering with Young Detroit Builders, an organization that trains youth in building rehab and renovation. So not only will you be giving a writer a home, just as importantly you will be providing youth with skills they can use for a lifetime of employment. Plus, you will be helping to stabilize a neighborhood.
The neighborhoods we are working with are a rich quilt of culture and change. It won’t be deluxe Beverly Hills, but maybe that’s okay.
It’s certainly okay for me. If you want to get in on this, take a number and get in line behind me. So far the video has fewer than 500 views, but I have a feeling that’s not going to continue to be the case for much longer. Sure, Ireland doesn’t tax artists and poets, but they also don’t provide free housing unless you happen to be Marianne Faithfull. And don’t be too scared: it’s only a short hop across the St. Lawrence to Windsor, Ontario and those lovely, polite people in Canuckistan.
You are a long way from the St. Lawrence! That’s the Detroit River … two lakes away.
See, and that right there is why I am a wirter, not a geographer.