Where should they live?

New Detroit superintendent Nikolai Vitti needs a house in Detroit. Let’s help him look. We’ll start.

PHOTO: via Twitter
Superintendent Nikolai Vitti and wife Rachel Vitti, seen here at a past event in Florida, spoke at a special education forum in a Detroit church this week.

The city of Detroit will soon have six new residents when new Detroit schools superintendent Nikolai Vitti arrives with his wife and four kids.

Vitti says he’s determined to live “in the city limits” but hasn’t yet identified a house or neighborhood.

“We haven’t found a particular place, though obviously we’ve been looking online,” Vitti told Chalkbeat in an interview Saturday. “It’s a matter of finding the right house at the right price.”

We at Chalkbeat don’t know much about real estate. But we live in the city and are either raising or have already raised kids here. So, since Vitti hasn’t lived in the area in years, we’ll pass along some unsolicited advice.

With four kids, the Vittis will need a large house in a family-friendly neighborhood. Since Vitti says he plans to stay until the end of his five-year contract, it’s probably wise for the family to buy, rather than rent.

They’ll find some of the city’s largest and most elegant homes in Palmer Woods or Indian Village and with a starting salary of $295,000 a year that will climb to $322,000, Vitti could find those neighborhoods within reach. But living in such rarified zip codes could hurt Vitti’s street cred in a district where 73 percent of students are identified by the state as “economically disadvantaged.”

Given that, he might consider neighborhoods like the University District, Grandmont/Rosedale and West Village that have large homes but are a little more down to Earth. Boston Edison — just over a mile from school district headquarters in the Fisher Building — could also be a great choice.

Below are some listings we found, all with at least five bedrooms. Please add your suggestions on our Facebook page.

The Tigers den

This stately $395,000 house in Boston Edison has great tile work and  detail — not to mention a storied past as a home to a former Detroit Tigers owner. It could be costly to heat and maintain.

36 Longfellow St.


The mansion

At $699,999, this Indian Village mansion could be a budget-buster but wow!


2501 Iroquois


The gated community 

If Vitti doesn’t care about budget, or about finding a home with historic character, he and his family can pick up this newly constructed five-bedroom in a gated community near Belle Isle. It would cost them $1.2 million but they won’t have to deal with the aggravations of a owning a historic home.


26 Sandbar Lane


The mayoral digs

Or, Vitti could channel a city leader from Detroit’s past and move his family into the  five-bedroom tudor where Jerome Cavanagh reportedly lived when he was mayor. It’s listing for $399,000.

18085 Parkside Street


This is just a start however. Where do you think the Vittis should live?



Early investment

Foundations put $50 million behind effort to improve lives of young Detroit children

PHOTO: Erin Einhorn
The heads of the Kresge and W.K. Kellogg foundations, Rip Rapson and La June Montgomery announce a $50 million investment to support the new Hope Starts Here framework.

The two major foundations behind the creation of a ten-year plan to improve the lives of Detroit’s youngest children are putting up $50 million to help put the plan into action.

As they unveiled the new Hope Starts Here framework Friday morning, the Kellogg and Kresge foundations announced they would each spend $25 million in the next few years to improve the health and education of children aged birth to 8 in the city.

The money will go toward upgrading early childhood education centers, including a new Kresge-funded comprehensive child care center that the foundation says it hopes to break ground on next year at a location that has not yet been identified.

Other foundation dollars will go toward a just-launched centralized data system that will keep track of a range of statistics on the health and welfare of young children, and more training and support for early childhood educators.

The announcement at Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History drew dozens of parents, educators and community leaders. Among them was Detroit Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti who said one of the major impediments to improving conditions for young children has been divisions between the various government and nonprofit entities that run schools, daycares and health facilities for young kids.

Vitti said the district would do its part to “to break down the walls of territorialism that has prevented this work from happening” in the past.

Watch the video of of the announcement here.

Detroit's future

In a city where 60 percent of young children live in poverty, a ten-year plan aims to improve conditions for kids

PHOTO: Erin Einhorn/Chalkbeat

A coalition of community groups led by two major foundations has a plan to change the fortunes of Detroit’s youngest citizens.

The Hope Starts Here early childhood partnership is a ten-year effort to tackle a list of bleak statistics about young children in Detroit:

  • More than 60% of Detroit’s children 0-5 live in poverty — more than in any of the country’s 50 largest cities;
  • 13% of Detroit babies are born too early, compared to nine percent nationally;
  • 13% of Detroit babies are born too small, compared to eight percent nationally;
  • Detroit has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country;
  • Nearly 30,000 of eligible young Detroiters have no access to high-quality early learning or child care options.
  • That translates to learning problems later on, including the 86.5% of Detroit third graders who aren’t reading at grade level.

Hope Starts Here spells out a plan to change that. While it doesn’t identify specific new funding sources or propose a dramatic restructuring of current programs, the effort led by the Kresge Foundation and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, names six “imperatives” to improving children’s lives.

Among them: Promoting the health, development and wellbeing of Detroit children; supporting their parents and caregivers; increasing the overall quality of early childhood programs and improving coordination between organizations that work with young kids. The framework calls for more funding to support these efforts through the combined investments of governments, philanthropic organizations and corporations.

Read the full framework here: