Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan delivered some good news, especially to homeowners in the city of Detroit.
On Thursday, September 30 Duggan announced at a press conference a brand new $30 million grant program to help homeowners like low-income senior citizens and residents with disabilities make vital repairs to their homes, according to a release.
The Renew Detroit program is a first-of-its-kind initiative funded by President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which has given Detroit over $400 million to invest in programs to improve Detroit neighborhoods and improve safety and quality of life.
The program will effectively triple the amount of city-funded owner-occupied home repairs each year, according to a press release.
Historically, the city has funded between 200-250 annual home repairs through its Community Development Block Grant-funded senior emergency home repair program at a cost of up to $6 million per year. Renew Detroit will spend up to $17 million to repair approximately 500 additional homes per year, bringing the total to up to 750 per year, Duggan said.
“We have not tried anything of this magnitude before,” Duggan said during the press conference.
In addition to crediting Biden, Duggan credited others in the city who helped push the program through including Detroit Councilman Roy McCallister Detroit City Council who he said gave their “complete support.”
Duggan added that the program comes at a critical time because many city homeowners have sought his help for getting needed repairs done in their homes.
“(This) is going to raise the housing stock and neighborhood values all across the city,” he said of the program that officially kicks off on Friday, October 1.
“The most important thing we can do as a city is to make sure that long-time Detroiters are able to remain in their home, and a lot of times that depends on their ability to make major repairs,” Duggan said in a release. “Thanks to President’s Biden’s rescue plan and City Council’s commitment to this program, we are going to be able to reach triple the number of homeowners in need of help.”
Phase One of Renew Detroit will focus on replacing 1,000 roofs. Eighty percent of Senior Home Repair requests involve new roofs, by far the most urgent need. Additionally, 50% of Detroiters are turned down for home weatherization grants because of bad roofs, which can lead to major internal home deterioration. Roof repairs have been, by far, the most requested single home repair residents have asked for in the past. Phase Two of Renew Detroit, expected to launch a year from now, is expected to provide a major repair to another 500 homes, according to a release.
In order to be eligible, homeowners must meet the following criteria:
- Age 62 or older or be a homeowner of any age with a disability
- Approved for a property tax exemption through the Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Program (HPTAP), recently re-named the Homeowner Property Exemption (HOPE). The program is designed to provide property tax relief to eligible lower-income homeowners. For eligibility requirements and to apply for the HPTAP program, visit detroitmi.gov/hptap
- Have not received a home repair grant from the city of $10,000 or more in the past 10 years.
After meeting these initial criteria, homeowners will be selected based on a point system that includes the length of ownership, the number of people in the home, level of their HOPE tax exemption (25%, 50%, or 100%), and whether they already are on a list for similar repairs with Wayne Metro or the city’s Senior Emergency Home Repair (SEHR) program.
The Rocket Community Fund, the philanthropic arm of Rocket Companies, is donating the costs of a call center and hotline for the Renew Detroit program. The hotline, operated by Rocket Companies subsidiary Rock Connections, will provide residents the opportunity to speak with a representative to determine their eligibility and participate in the new initiative. The Rocket Community Fund is also conducting a Renew Detroit awareness campaign.
“As we continue to support Detroiters across the city to build stable homeownership, we have seen the magnitude of need for robust repair programs that address critical issues and provide peace of mind for homeowners,” said Laura Grannemann, Vice President of the Rocket Community Fund. “We are excited to support Renew Detroit and applaud the City of Detroit’s ongoing commitment to helping residents repair their homes and build equity in their neighborhoods.”
One of the goals of the Renew Detroit program is to reduce the size of the waitlist for the SEHR program, which can be years long. Currently, there are nearly 2,000 residents on that waitlist. Residents on the waitlist are encouraged to apply for the Renew Detroit Program. Residents who apply for Renew Detroit will keep their place in line under the old list. If they are selected for a Renew Detroit repair, the homeowner can decide which program is best for them.
Not only will Renew Detroit assist Detroit homeowners, but another goal of the program is also to provide an opportunity to Detroit-based contractors to perform the $30 million in repairs. In the coming weeks, the City will announce a series of outreach events to engage local contractors to perform the repairs. This will include opportunities as prime contractors, sub-contractors, and joint ventures. Contractors are encouraged to get their business certified as a Detroit-based or minority-owned company at www.detroitmi.gov/crio.
To receive updates of upcoming bid opportunities, contractors can go to www.detroitmi.gov/citynews and select “Contractor Outreach.”
- Applications for Renew Detroit open October 1 and close October 31
- HPTAP/HOPE applications must be submitted by November 12 and must be approved by December 14, 2021, to ensure eligibility for Renew Detroit
- Approved applicants will be selected and notified by February 1, 2022
- Bids for roof repairs will go out in Fall 2021
- Repairs to 1,000 homes begin in Spring of 2022 and are completed within two years
- Phase Two applications open October 2022 (tentative)
For anyone wanting to start training to do construction work as part of Renew Detroit, call 313-962-WORK or visit www.detroitatwork.com.
Full details and applications are available at www.detroitmi.gov/RenewDetroit. Applications can be filled out online or completed over the phone by calling 313-244-0274 between 9 AM and 6 PM, Monday-Saturday.