Duggan unveils aid for Detroiters faced with eviction
Detroit — The same day a four-month state moratorium on evictions was to end, Mayor Mike Duggan announced $11 million in new resources for those who have fallen behind on their rent.
Starting on Thursday, Detroit residents already in the eviction process can seek legal representation from the 36th District Court, assistance with missed rent payments and assistance with relocation to new households, Duggan said.
Detroit residents who are at risk of eviction can call (866)313-2520 or go online to detroitevictionhelp.com for resources and assistance.
"We do not want folks displaced from homes if we can help it," Duggan said during a press conference.
The resources for Detroiters were made available after $6.4 million from the Michigan CARES Act Funding was added to the $5.1 million from the Detroit CARES Act Funding for tenant assistance.
Those who are eligible for the assistance include those who received eviction notices or court-ordered summons, complaints, or judgments against them, city officials said.
Those who receive help through state funding will need to make up to 100% of the area median income of $70,900. Those receiving help through city funding will need to make up to 80% of the AMI.
"We're extremely proud of this program," Donald Rencher, the city's director of Housing and Revitalization, said. "It is vitally important during this time that we address housing instability especially during a pandemic."
The mayor also declared Aug. 31 Detroit Memorial Day for families to celebrate the lives of loved ones who died due to COVID-19. According to state statistics, Detroit has recorded 1,458 deaths from the virus and 84 probable fatalities.
The event will be observed annually, according to Detroit's director of arts and culture Rochelle Riley.
"Imagine needing 1,500 funerals but not being able to have more than 10 people in a church, we have found a way," said Riley.
The celebration of the lost lives will start on "Memorial Eve" on Aug. 30 at 5 p.m. with seven simultaneous memorials throughout the city. Each ceremony will be taped and edited for a single viewing at a later time.
City council members will host an Aug. 31 memorial drive through Belle Isle. Large photos of COVID-19 victims will be staked six feet apart for viewing. Riley said contact information will be shared next week for residents to send photos of their deceased family members.
Drivers will be asked to turn their radios to a certain station to hear gospel and Motown music specifically curated for the event.
Southeast Michigan residents, churches and organizations will be asked to ring bells at 8:45 a.m. for 15 minutes in honor of those who've died from the virus.
The Detroit Memorial Day will end with the Ford Fireworks show that was postponed from mid-June.
"I am so proud to be able to do this, it's the greatest thing I've been asked to do for my city, for our loved ones, and for fellow Detroiters," Riley said.