Posted by Chuck Chase on Jun 02, 2017
Jim Philp introduced his son, Drew, a nationally (and internationally) known author, script editor, newspaper and magazine writer, and speaker who told us about his new book “A $500 House in Detroit”. Drew is a graduate of Adrian High School, attended the U of M and moved to Detroit his senior year. He currently writes for the Guardian newspaper.
Drew began by commending us on the work that we do in our community and that it was “essential to what ails our world today”. He said that when he was attending college he found that 75% of students were leaving the state but that he was fortunate to be able to use his education here at home and so he chose Detroit because it was “the heartbeat of this region as well as the intellectual and spiritual center of the United States”. At one time Detroit had the highest rate of homeownership and African American homeownership in the country and probably the best schools. Now, however, it does not. Detroit really built the middle class, he said.
Drew bought a house in Poletown, a community south of Hamtramck. There is a large auto company in his neighborhood (the Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly Plant) which, at its peak, employed about 3,700 people. The plant kicked 4,200 people out of their homes in order to make room for and build this facility which they said originally it would employ close to 10,000. “We need to be creative in this new economy”, Drew said. “What worked in Detroit years ago does not in the long term”.  
To do his small part to add to Detroit’s economy Drew purchased a house at a live auction for cash in Wayne County. It had no electricity, windows nor plumbing and a rather large hole in the roof. Drew, however, wanted to prove that he could restore the home. He said he was dismayed by the fact that the city was willing to give the Illitch family a $250M subsidy for a new hockey stadium but was not willing to help people who filed for bankruptcy and wanted to make their homes and neighborhoods a better place to live! Paul did eventually full repair his home which he now lives in.
Paul Wertz, a teacher, he said started a giant farm behind his school and a garden which for a time fed the students daily. He also bought crack houses, fixed them up and sold them to his friends or rented them out. There are city blocks, Drew said, that have just a few houses on them and weeds are everywhere. He truly believes there is a solution to these problems and wanted people to know about the state these Detroit neighborhoods are in so he wrote a book about it. Here are some staggering statistics Drew shared with us: 1 out of every 4 homes in Detroit has gone to tax foreclosure and water has been shut off to 80,000 – 100,000 people (1/6 of the entire city population)! “Having a new hockey stadium in the downtown does nothing to solve this problem”, Drew said.
Drew brought one with him so that the club could auction it off and Chip Moore was the highest bidder! He also stayed over to take orders from members at a discounted price.
Mark and Mary said they read his book and couldn’t say enough about.