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Detroit kicks off second phase of home repair program

Charles & Adrienne Esseltine

Detroit is using federal stimulus funds to tackle one of the city’s most pressing problems: upgrading homes that are in poor condition.

The city celebrated two milestones in its Renew Detroit home repair program on Friday.

The first is the start of repair work on the 1,000 homes selected for roof repairs in phase one of the program.

One of those selected in the first round is Detroit homeowner Samela Dean. She declared herself “extremely happy” with the work contractors are currently doing on her home.

“I am so excited to have a roof. It's so emotional because I never, ever dreamed this can happen to me,” Dean said.

Mayor Mike Duggan said there’s a good reason the city focused on roofs in the first round: “Because we believe if you secure the outside, you've got folks who can work away at the inside. But if there's water coming through the roof, you can't do anything.”

Duggan said the program, which will select applicants in part based on how long they’ve owned their home, is “for the people who stayed” in Detroit through hard times. “This is what's happening in neighborhoods. You probably thought you were forgotten, but you're not,” Duggan said.

The second phase of the program opens to applicants on Saturday. The additional 1,000 homeowners chosen in that phase will get to choose between roof and window repairs.

Only senior or disabled Detroit residents who have received the city’s low-income property tax exemption qualify for the Renew Detroit program. They must have also not received a city home improvement grant in the last ten years.

Starting Saturday morning, eligible homeowners can apply at www.detroitmi.gov/RenewDetroit or by calling 313-244-0274.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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