DETROIT (FOX 2) – Michigan’s season of extreme weather is beginning to get underway, including the threat of record-breaking heat hitting southeastern Michigan this week.
Heavy storms are also possible around 7pm Monday night
Severe storms mean strong gusts of wind and potentially heavy rain in a short period of time – which can cause flooding in basements and highways.
As flooding problems continue to affect Detroit and much of the metro area, local and state governments have worked to establish relief programs for residents affected by water damage and growing mold.
The programs consist of a combination of grants, loans, weatherproofing assistance, and community-based home repair programs.
The ecosystem of repair options is extensive and only applies to certain types of repairs. The same programs that offer help with a roof do not replace a furnace or water heater. When a basement floods, the repair money doesn’t necessarily fix the cause, it just fixes the damage.
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The Detroit Home Repair Resource Guide, compiled by the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions Division, compiles all of the available programs. It is regularly updated and divided into four categories:
- Loan programs for home repairs
- Home repair grant programs
- weathering and energy efficiency programs
- Community based home repair programs/services
Loan programs for home repairs
Programs available in this category include options from Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Liberty Bank, Michigan Saves and, for Detroit residents, the City of Detroit.
The interest rates on the loans are low but vary depending on the source they come from. For MSHDA, eligible repairs include exterior siding, heating, air conditioning, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, attic and basement upgrades, or septic tank and sewer replacement.
Only the City of Detroit program offers 0% interest.
Home repair grant programs
The Detroit Home Repair Guide has 10 different state, federal and some specific to the city of Detroit grant programs.
The grant options do not include the expected interest guidelines, but there are eligibility requirements that applicants must meet before applying.
For example, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services program offers funding to repair unsafe living conditions and restore basic services: like furnaces and water heaters. The energy repairs come with lifetime limitations on the maximum that can be received.
To qualify, applicants must live in the home, not sell it, and the property must be affordable to maintain.
Nonprofit organizations may also qualify for grant funding through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s Neighborhood Enhancement Program. Agencies that deal directly with neighborhood stabilization work are qualified. About $2 million is available for 2022 applicants. Organizations will each receive approximately $50,000.
For those seeking grant support from a bank, they can try the Neighborhood Impact Program offered by Indianapolis’ Federal Home Loan Bank. These grants, each listed as $7,500, help homeowners with repairs. The bank often works with community organizations or other local banks.
Homeowners are only allowed to receive an FLHBI grant for a property once every five years.
There is a Detroit Area on Aging program that provides home repair services through the state’s Medicaid MI Choice Waiver program. Home repair services are reimbursed by Medicaid, which helps seniors and adults with disabilities stay in their homes.
All applicants must make reasonable efforts to find funding opportunities.
weathering and energy efficiency programs
DTE and Wayne County both have weathering assistance programs that can help improve energy efficiency.
Under the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), low-income households can receive energy improvements that help increase a home’s efficiency, which can reduce electricity and heating costs. The grants are worth up to $7,500. The improvements will not be installed until other major repairs are completed.
Utility benefits and late housing payments are offered through WRAP, or the Water Residential Assistance Program. Applicants can also get $2,000 for minor plumbing repairs.
Community based home repair programs
There are nine community groups that offer specialty home customization programs and senior-specific repairs for homes post-disasters and apartments in need of general repairs.
Bridging Communities in Detroit, for example, connects customers with home repair grants, loan programs and resources to help them stay in their homes. RTSEM, or Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan, works with a bevy of local Detroit groups to conduct home inspections that help pinpoint the highest priority issues.
The community-based programs handle both emergency repairs and assistance that may not be included in disaster relief, such as:
You can find the entire resource guide here. It provides links to how to apply for each program and explains what does and does not fall under the available money.
Jack Nissen is a reporter at FOX 2 Detroit. You can reach him at [email protected]