A $500 HOUSE IN DETROIT: REBUILDING AN ABANDONED HOME AND AN AMERICAN CITY (April 16th, 2017)
At 23 and with college degree in hand, Drew did the unthinkable. While his fellow graduates set their sights on Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, Drew turned his attention towards the burned out husk of a city in the state that had raised and educated him: Detroit. A city with problems too innumerable to name, let alone solve, Drew gave in the only way he could think to give: he purchased, renovated, and lived in a house that had been abandoned like so much of Detroit. And so he became a part of the community, fell in love, bought a dog, built his house. All the while, something began to shift in the Detroit story. No longer the bombed out city that many had been so fast to call dead, Detroit was changing in new – hopeful – ways. And there was Drew, documenting it all from the view through the window in a home that he had the fortitude, bravery, and optimism to rebuild.
With boots on the ground and hammer in hand, Drew bears witness to a Detroit that finds itself at a crossroads. With compassion, eloquence, and hard-earned wisdom, he sifts through the ashes for the answer to a pressing question: will Detroit fashion itself in the image of today’s successful cities, or will it reimagine itself entirely and become the template for the Great American City of the 21st century?
Drew’s article, “Why I Bought a House in Detroit For $500” (which can be read here: http://www.buzzfeed.com/drewphilp/why-i-bought-a-house-in-detroit-for-500), garnered over 1.5 million views and stands as BuzzFeed’s most popular feature story.
“Lots of young bohemian types are fascinated by Detroit — land of the fabled $500 house! — but few take the plunge as headily as Drew Philp did, not only buying his own place but renovating it from the inside out, getting to know the neighbors, and learning about one of America’s most fascinating cities as only a true resident can. Philp writes about his experience with sensitivity, humility and humor, and his voice is a necessary addition to the literature of the Motor City.” – Mark Binelli, author of Detroit City is The Place to Be
Rights: Scribner, North America
DREW PHILP’s work has been published both nationally and internationally, appearing or forthcoming in BuzzFeed, The Detroit Free Press, the Metrotimes, Corp! Magazine, the Bakersfield Californian, the Michigan Daily, and Atavist in a joint venture with Jaunt Magazine. He is also a writer in the film industry, having written two feature length dramas on contract, including a collaboration with an Emmy Award winning producer. In addition to writing, he built his house in Detroit with his own hands; hitchhiked across the United States; and taught writing, literature and theater extensively in prisons and juvenile institutions. Drew graduated from the University of Michigan and is 27 years old.