How Metro Detroit flood victims can seek help

Breana Noble Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Municipalities are deploying emergency services to thousands of Metro Detroit residents impacted by flood damage, especially thousands of residents without power, following intense storms. 

It's critical residents exercise caution and seek help before the next storm arrives, said Gary Brown, director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Southeast Michigan residents can call 211 to reach United Way for assistance from flooding, according to the Michigan State Police.

Cities, including Detroit and Dearborn, are preparing requests for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Residents have 45 days to make a claim with their communities to help assess damages.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also has set up a State Emergency Operations Center to support affected communities.


The Butzel and Kemeny recreation centers have been opened for families without power.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, Public Works, and General Services are assessing the storm's impact and launched a hotline to make claims for damaged property. Residents can call (313) 267-8000 or go to the department's website to file a claim. The city is encouraging residents to take photographs of damage and keep receipts from cleaning or repairs.

On Sunday, the city is in the process of cleaning up streets, picking up damaged items from curbs and surveying damage, according to a Facebook post.

Officials plan to investigate the city's system operations and are focusing on ensuring citizen safety, Brown said. The city also is coordinating with the state for emergency response.

The Red Cross has mobilized trained disaster response volunteers and staff in the metro Detroit area to assist with the aftermath of yesterday’s floods. Community members in need of shelter resulting from flooding or weather-related damage to their home can call 1-800-RED-CROSS or go directly to one of two Red Cross shelters.


Dearborn is offering an emergency shelter and cooling center for those without power at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center, located at 15801 Michigan Ave. No one needed the shelter on Saturday, according to a Facebook post, and if that remains the case, it will close at 5 p.m.

It also is distributing dry ice there to keep food cold until 5 p.m. Sunday at the theater loading dock. Residents are asked to bring a cooler.

The city will be picking up bulk items starting Monday. All city-operated activities have been canceled, including the Motor City Brass Band performance on Sunday. 

The city is advising residents affected by flooding to call (313) 943-3030 or make a claim on the city's website. Three hundred houses have reported damages, according to the city's website, with more expected.

On Sunday, teams of city employees are walking door to door in east and southeast Dearborn to get an initial assessment of how many homes experienced flooding and to estimate damages. Questions of homeowners will be brief, and employees will not be entering homes. The information will be used to apply for federal FEMA assistance.

The City Council allocated $500,000 in emergency funding to handle flooding impacts. City engineers said Outer Drive had 7.58 inches of rain when sewer drains were only capable of handling 3 inches. More than 100 city service trucks deployed Saturday in Dearborn to drain the flooding, which officials say dramatically affected east Dearborn neighborhoods north of Michigan Avenue and east of Greenfield.

Police Chief Ron Haddad said Saturday the city will be investigating the cause of flooding and officials have drafted a plan to mitigate future storms.

Dearborn Heights 

Dearborn Heights Mayor Bill Bazzi urged residents on Saturday to remain at home if possible and to avoid flooded areas to prevent possible electrocution.

"Also, the flood water you are seeing in and around your streets is often contaminated with backed-up sewage. In addition to the obvious health hazards associated with contaminated water, murky waters can hide several unseen hazards, like sharp-edged debris, broken glass, sinkholes, etc," he said. "Stay out of this water as much as possible, and CERTAINLY don't allow children to play in floodwater (no matter how clear it appears to be)."

Grosse Pointe Park

Grosse Pointe Park Public Works, Green For Life and other Grosse Pointe Public Works Departments will be assisting to take trash away on curbs starting on Sunday and throughout the days ahead.

Residents can contact the city's Department of Public Works at 313-822-5100. They also can fill out a form for a claim to help assess damage on the city's website.

The city is working with the Wayne County Department of Homeland Security/Emergency Management and the National Weather Service following the storm. Preliminary data shows 8.19 inches of rain fell within 24 hours in Grosse Pointe Park.

Oakland County

Rainfall rates exceeded 4 inches in parts of Oakland County. With a forecast of continuing significant rainfall, the chances for some flooding increases, Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter said.

“I urge residents to use caution in any flooded areas or in situations that they feel are unsafe," Coulter said. “If you are driving and see standing water, ‘turn around, don’t drown.’ Taking the time to follow safety guidelines, will help prevent unnecessary injury.”

Oakland County continues to support residents through Environmental Health Services, Public Health, Emergency Management, the Water Resource Commission, and other departments.