New grant to help homeowners clean up basement flood damage

What’s happening: At the top of the year, nonprofit neighborhood organization Jefferson East, Inc. (JEI) announced a new program that would help residents of the East Jefferson corridor repair, replace, and elevate furnaces damaged by basement flooding brought on by the rainstorms of 2021, a program bolstered by a $250,000 grant from the A.A. Van Elslander Foundation. Now JEI is announcing the receipt of another grant that will further help residents dig their ways out of the damage brought on by basement flooding.

What it is: Jefferson East, Inc. and the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) have received a $125,000 grant from the McGregor Fund to provide emergency support for low-income Detroit households that require flooding-related basement clean-ups. The organizations will remove debris and destroyed items, muck out basements, scrape clean dirt, dust, and organic materials, and sanitize basements after cleanings.

What they’re saying: “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,” says CEO Site Director Nina Hicks.

How they’ll do it: JEI and CEO will use the grant money to train and hire previously incarcerated individuals to perform the clean-outs, providing paid employment opportunities and promising ongoing career support. The 50 homes slated to receive new furnaces from the program initially announced in January will receive priority clean-ups.

Why it’s important: “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,” says 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 “As flooding events become even more frequent, further shining a light on Detroit’s outdated infrastructure, it’s extremely important that we continue to work with our partners in the event of another overwhelming rainfall.”

For those in need: To inquire about the basement clean-up program, contact JEI’s Neighborhood Resource Hub by calling (313) 314-6415 or visit them online.

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.