WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary C. Peters, and Congressman John Conyers, Jr., announced the allocation of $8.9 million from the Community Development Block Grant Declared Disaster Recovery Fund (DDR) to the City of Detroit. The funds will help Detroit become better prepared for future floods and other natural disasters, and assist with planning and implementation costs associated with resilient projects in the Brightmoor, Mt. Elliot and McDougall-Hunt neighborhoods, stemming from August 2014 flooding damage.
“This investment in Detroit, its people and its future will produce economic and environmental benefits for generations to come,” said HUD Secretary Castro. “Working with our local partners, we must continue to ensure that these communities are stronger than ever before with sustainable development and inclusive growth.”
"We are deeply appreciative to Secretary Castro and HUD for making this special allocation to the city of Detroit,” said Detroit Mayor, Mike Duggan. “With this funding, we are going to be able to make an impact in our neighborhoods through additional blight removal, beautification of vacant land and new strategies to make us more resilient to the kind of flood damage we experienced a year ago."
The Detroit metropolitan area experienced significant flooding as a result of rainfall during the period of August 11-13, 2014. The City of Detroit had the highest number of affected households, with nearly 60,000 households suffering some level of housing damage. The severe weather and flooding also impacted Detroit’s overall economy, damaging and disrupting critical manufacturing and freight operations as well as small businesses.
The storm resulted in over 10 billion gallons of combined sewer overflow, with 6 billion gallons of the flow coming from Detroit’s system, which serves more than 70 communities in southeast Michigan. Of that overflow, nearly 80% was not treated, which threatened the overall health of the Great Lakes water system and Metro Detroit’s water supply.
The DDR funds will demonstrate how green and blue infrastructure place making strategies help create new urban landscapes that improve civic life and promote significant citywide infrastructure renewal. The DDR funds will specifically help fund the following projects:
- Brightmoor Green Infrastructure: This project will utilize land in a largely vacant area to manage stormwater flows to reduce sewer overflows. A variety of project types are envisioned for this area including green streets, public facility improvements, and urban agriculture.
- Mt. Elliot Neighborhood Renewable Power: Through this project, the city will work with a community partnership to complete pre-development work on a large scale solar panel array along a former railway on the near east side. These productive re-uses of vacant land will also encourage new housing and economic development investments.
- McDougall-Hunt Green Infrastructure: This project will provide storm water management by creating multi-functional green and blue infrastructure space accessible to the public. This project also aims to promote economic development by spurring housing and commercial development.
- The City will demolish vacant properties and undertake landscape installations in areas such as Aviation Sub and Islandview which are adjacent to the neighborhoods that experienced flooding or caused other areas to flood. These actions will promote increased absorption of stormwater which will help prevent future flooding.
“These new resources will allow Detroit to continue its investments in critical infrastructure projects that will support its continued recovery and resurgence of the entire region,” said Senator Stabenow. “The better management of storm water will improve the health and safety of residents and support economic development in Southeast Michigan.”
“Today’s announcement is a positive step forward to help the City of Detroit and its residents get back on their feet as the metro area continues to recover from last year’s devastating storms and flooding,” said Senator Gary Peters. “The projects in Brightmoor, Mount Elliot and McDougall-Hunt will make critical upgrades to improve the management of storm water to prevent damage from future flooding and promote better sustainability. I’m proud to help announce these important investments in the City of Detroit that will continue to build a stronger Detroit and a stronger Michigan.”
“I want to applaud HUD and Secretary Castro for working with us to help make Detroit a cleaner, safer, and more livable city," said Congressman John Conyers, Jr. "Detroiters can sleep better knowing we are making the necessary investments to protect Detroit families and our Great Lakes from the harmful impact of flooding.”
"Today's announcement reflects the strong partnership among federal, state and city officials. Under Mayor Duggan's leadership, Detroit is on its way to realizing his vision as a true comeback city," said Cliff Kellogg, Executive Director of the White House Detroit Federal Working Group.
In accordance with Section 106(c)(4) of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, the HUD Secretary can use CDBG funds that have been recaptured pursuant to CDBG program sanctions for the purpose of addressing recovery efforts from major disasters. It also indicates that HUD shall make these funds available to metropolitan cities and urban counties located or partially located in areas affected by major disasters declared pursuant to the Stafford Act, and shall give priority to providing emergency assistance. HUD may also provide assistance to a metro city or urban county if they have been covered by a major declared disaster for which the declaration occurred in the past three years. FEMA issued a major disaster declaration for the Detroit metropolitan area on September 25, 2014.