People all over metro Detroit are still recovering from last month’s flooding, but residents on Detroit’s east side have been devastated by the heightened impacts of every flood event in the area for years. FEMA will be canvassing the city starting this week to assess the region’s flood damage, and journalist Orlando Bailey is urging Detroiters to open up their doors.
“Rain in Detroit is a trigger for certain residents because they don’t know if they’re going to lose their homes.” —Orlando Bailey, Bridge Detroit
Listen: How flooding compounds poverty for some Detroit residents.
Orlando Bailey is engagement director of Bridge Detroit and co-host of the Authentically Detroit podcast. He says flooding in the city displaced residents already disproportionately affected by other crises. “It really is an outsized event that has traumatized and is further stripping the wealth from homeowners.” Bailey says flood events in the metropolitan area are most destructive in areas like the east side, where the median income is $27,000 a year. “There’s not a lot of wiggle room for people to replace hot water heaters, replace their cars.”
Bailey says he remembers the large number of east-side residents contacting him during the 2014 floods worried about their houses. “Rain in Detroit is a trigger for certain residents because they don’t know if they’re going to lose their homes.” He says policymakers need to be held responsible for their role in neglecting Detroit residents’ living conditions, even when not in a weather emergency. “There was a feeling of indifference on part of our municipal leadership and our state leadership … I want to hear from the city movement of resources …This last flood is crisis level for so many people.”