JEI Receives $125K to Support Flood-Related Basement Clean-Ups

Jefferson East, Inc. (JEI) and the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) have received a $125,000 grant from the McGregor Fund to support their partnership in providing emergency support for flooding-related basement clean-ups for low-income households in Detroit. A survey conducted in early January indicated that there are 147 households that are in immediate need of basement sanitation and muck-outs. Of this number, 50 households are also in immediate need of furnace repairs or replacements. 

The McGregor grant will allow JEI and CEO to expedite basement clean-outs by training and deploying Detroiters with previous criminal justice system involvement to remove debris and sanitize basements of neighborhood homes that experienced flooding. CEO will also help prepare basements to be cleared for the repair or replacement of furnaces and hot water tanks, while JEI works to deploy recently awarded funds from the Van Elslander Foundation to target furnace repairs and replacements.

Additional efforts supported by the McGregor Fund grant include:

  • Removing debris by placing larger items like washers, dryers or bagging materials on the lawn for the City of Detroit to pick up
  • Mucking out basements by scraping dust and dirt off the walls and floor and removing other organic material that may have been brought in during the flooding to allow the space to dry
  • Making one last sweep of basements to ensure all debris has been removed
  • Sanitizing walls and floors by treating with Shockwave Disinfectant & Sanitizer to prohibit mold growth

The majority of FEMA requests submitted by Detroit residents were denied after the flooding events in summer 2021. FEMA dollars are generally unavailable for flood-related basement repairs because the federal government only approves disaster assistance to individual households if the affected area is an active living area. The McGregor Fund grant is designed to fill this gap in support.

In addition to providing funding for flooding support, the McGregor Fund grant will also assist previously incarcerated individuals with transitioning back into the community and workforce by providing immediate paid employment along with skills training and ongoing career support.

“With this grant from the McGregor Fund, we have the ability to collaborate with the Center for Employment Opportunities, while also addressing the critical need expressed by Detroiters in the aftermath of last June’s catastrophic flooding events,” said JEI CEO Josh Elling. “As flooding events become even more frequent, further shining a light on Detroit’s outdated infrastructure, it’s extremely important that we continue to work with our partners in the event of another overwhelming rainfall.”

With support from the McGregor Fund, JEI and CEO will execute the first six-month portion of the contract to tackle the 50 homes most in need of immediate attention to allow for the installations of new furnaces. Surveys conducted by JEI have indicated that more than 4,000 homes in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood received between one to eight feet of water in their basements in June 2020.

“We are proud to collaborate with Jefferson East, Inc. to provide emergency support for flooding-related basement clean-ups in Detroit while also working to provide employment opportunities exclusively to individuals who have recently returned home from incarceration,” said CEO Site Director Nina Hicks.

If you need housing or flooding support, please contact JEI’s Neighborhood Resource Hub by calling (313) 314-6415. To learn more about Jefferson East, Inc., please visit

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