$1.6 million home repair program introduced for Detroit Works Project Demonstration Areas
Posted: 08/22/11Christine MacDonald/ The Detroit Newscmacdonald@detnews.com
DETROIT—Citizens Bank and Mayor Dave Bing on Monday announced a new program that will provide grants of up to $10,000 apiece for exterior home improvements in select neighborhoods.
The $1.625 million program, Call It Home, partners with Bing’s Detroit Works Project to reshape the city. The grants are available to residents in three Detroit Works’ pilot project areas and neighborhoods that are part of the Project 14 program to lure police officers back to the city.
Bing called the announcement another “plank in the rebirth of Detroit.”
“All these program have the same goal … to help us create neighborhoods that are dense, viable and safe,” Bing said during a media event Monday morning in Orchestra Place.
The announcement comes three months after Citizens settled a lawsuit with the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to avoid federal accusations of discrimination against minority residents in Metro Detroit.
As a part of the agreement, Citizens pledged to open a home loan office in the city and invest about $3.6 million during the next five years. The office on Woodward in Orchestra Place should open in about a month, said Citizens President and CEO Cathy Nash.
“It’s really great to be part of the momentum that is building in Detroit,” Nash said.
To qualify, residents have to live in the following areas: North Rosedale Park, East English Village, Hubbard Farms Southwest, Bagley, Detroit Golf Club, Green Acres, Palmer Woods, Sherwood Forest, University District, Boston Edison, North End or Virginia Park.
Homeowners apply for the grant, complete the renovation and then Citizens will reimburse the residents for half of the project’s cost, up to $10,000. Residents also can borrow the money from the bank. There are no income guidelines.
For more information, including maps of neighborhoods that qualify, go to http://myhome.citizensbanking.com.
James Stevenson, the coordinator for mortgage investigations for the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit, attended the press conference and asked Bing why these neighborhoods were selected because many are considered Detroit’s most stable.
Bing said efforts are under way to expand similar programs to other neighborhoods. Citizens said they are also expanding access to low-interest home loans for all Detroiters.
“I do understand they have limited funds,” Stevenson said. “It’s a start.”
The program is the third partnership that Bing has announced in about a week.
Last week, Bank of America pledged 10 free home to police officers returning to Detroit, while the JPMorgan Chase Foundation announced it will provide $1 million in down-payment assistance to help move about 70 police officers and city workers into city neighborhoods.