$20 million fund aims to help Detroit homeowners with repairs

Dan and Jennifer Gilbert are teaming up with DTE Energy and Toledo-based health care system ProMedica to help low-income homeowners cover renovation costs by pairing them up with contractors and building inspectors.


Detroit homeowners now have access to $20 million in home repair grants. The Detroit Home Repair Fund is sponsored by the Gilbert Family Foundation, DTE Energy and ProMedica.

The fund will provide grants towards roof, foundation and window repairs over the next three years. Last year, Dan and Jennifer Gilbert pledged to donate $500 million in Detroit.

Officials with the Gilbert Family Foundation say the fund will help Detroit homeowners at or below the 200% federal poverty level. They also need to apply for property tax exemptions. Jennifer Gilbert says the foundation previously helped residents avoid foreclosure. The fund is estimated to help 1,000 homeowners over three years.

“We have stayed in contact with the homeowners who have benefited from the property tax assistance, and the number one next need they consistently articulate is for home repair resources,” Jennifer Gilbert says.

Loretta Powell lives on Detroit’s east side and received a furnace and a water heater through a similar assistance program. She says now she can fix up her backyard and windows.

“We need help,” Powell says. “Detroit desperately needs home repair grants for our community because our homes need to be safe to live in.”

According to a 2020 study by the University of Michigan, at least 24,000 homes in Detroit have significant issues like lack of electricity, faulty roofs and water leaks. Organizers of the fund say they are taking applications now and starting repairs in June.

Mayor Mike Duggan says the nonprofit venture will support Detroit’s publicly funded repair programs, which recently saw a large investment.

“We passed a record $30 million with the help of President Biden in home repairs. Right now, we’re in the process of going out for a thousand roof repairs that are going to start later this summer. A thousand seniors are going to have their roofs secured. $30 million dollars, a record number.”

That funding comes as part of the $827 million Detroit is receiving from the American Rescue Plan Act. City Council President Mary Sheffield says the new Detroit Home Repair Fund will help bypass federal restrictions that limit who can access repair grants.

Interested Detroiters can call 313-306-2082 to find out more about the program and eligibility.

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  • Eli Newman
    Eli Newman is a Reporter/Producer for 101.9 WDET, covering breaking news, politics and community affairs. His favorite Motown track is “It’s The Same Old Song” by the Four Tops.