Sarah Alvarez is founder of Outlier Media, a journalism service that delivers data reporting and information to low-income news consumers over SMS and message apps. She is a former lawyer and former public radio reporter and was a 2015 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. She was assisted in this report by Kenny Jacoby, a University of Oregon journalism student.
Michigan overhauled its unemployment insurance system nearly a decade ago to save money, root out fraud and make it harder for jobless workers to qualify for benefits. Now, with more than one million workers jobless, the state has flagged 1 in 3 claimants for fraud amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Detroit and the rest of Wayne County comprise nearly half of Michigan’s coronavirus cases, forcing residents to summon resilience forged through decades of crisis.
Detroit, which faces a host of challenges, is the ‘epicenter’ of Michigan’s coronavirus outbreak. Some attribute that to testing. Others say city residents are more susceptible. All agree the rise burdens folks who are already suffering.
July 12, 2019 | Sarah Alvarez
U-M’s endowment’s investment in a firm that buys and renovates tax-foreclosed homes in Detroit is prompting evictions and big equity questions in a rapidly changing city.
December 13, 2018 | Sarah Alvarez
Each year, Michigan helps 122,000 families keep the heat on when bills rise too high. This year, the state is enforcing controversial asset tests meant to crack down on fraud.
The Detroit Land Bank owns 20 percent of all residential property in the city. But just 3 percent of its holdings are for sale, frustrating would-be homeowners.
May 17, 2018 | Sarah Alvarez
Tax foreclosures are decreasing in Detroit, but residents are still losing their homes for less than $1,000 debts.
October 12, 2017 | Sarah Alvarez
A law was supposed to stop land speculators from buying homes at tax auctions. It hasn’t worked out that way.
June 8, 2017 | Sarah Alvarez
A get-tough approach is sending scofflaws to jail for unpaid misdemeanor tickets. But it costs the county more to jail them than it generates for the city in ticket revenue and, now, even the sheriff is complaining.
February 16, 2017 | Sarah Alvarez
People who rent homes in Detroit are often at the mercy of unscrupulous or negligent landlords. The city should stiffen inspection laws and help average Detroiters get better information on rental properties.
December 16, 2014 | Sarah Alvarez
All parents of kids with disabilities have a lot to know when it comes to education, leaving parents searching for tips and advice from other parents, special education officials and advocates on how best to get the services they think their child