Detroit launches help for homeowners with flooded basements

The American Rescue Act is providing $1 billion to help clean up the Great lakes - but also gives the city of Detroit with millions of dollars to help people who have had their homes flooded.

Tilicia Ownes has lived in the aviation subdivision for the past six years and says every time it rains, the basement floods. She's not alone. Just last summer, hundreds of homes throughout Southeast Michigan experienced repeated basement flooding starting after the major rain event of June 25th and 26.

"I have had to discard many personal items, furniture, and appliances on several occasions," Owens said.

She hopes the city’s new Basement Backup Protection Program will provide the relief she and so many other residents are in search of.

"What we can do is take the 11 neighborhoods in the low-lying areas and go directly in and help those folks harden their basements and protect them against the flood," said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. "The city is going to enter into the contracts, we’re going to supervise the work, we'll pay 90% of the work. For people with low income will pay 100% of the work."

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The program is made possible through federal funding from the American Rescue Act.

"Thanks for the Biden administration and the American Rescue Act $15 million dollars we are starting in this neighborhood, on west side and another neighborhood on the east side," Duggan said.

The Basement Backup Protection Program will also put people to work.

"It's expected to create over 3300 jobs," said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. "The program is putting people to work installing devices that prevent sewer back up to protect health and safety of community."

Isaac Washington owns Ben Washington and Sons Plumbing and Heating and hopes to become part of the program.

"I’m truly honored that the city of reached out to Ben Washington and Sons and ask us to bid on this project," Washington said. "We can fix this problem.

Regan says there’s more federal dollars that will soon be available to not just Detroit but the entire state to boost infrastructure funding

"We’re making the single largest investment in  US water infrastructure in history," Regan said. "As part of this investment state of Michigan will receive 213 million dollars of infrastructure investments for this year. The first year five years of investments."

Officials say these federal funds help improve the quality of life for Michiganders by tackling the problem in a preventative way.

"It’s so much more important for us to be doing this work on the front end so that we can help people Instead of dealing with it as an emergency and clean up on the back end," Michigan EGLE Director Liesl Clark said.

More info - CLICK HERE for the Basement Backup Protection Plan application.