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Gilbert Family Foundation's home repair program has 14,000 Detroit residents on its waitlist

Gilbert Family Foundation's home repair program has 14,000 Detroit residents on its waitlist
Posted at 5:38 PM, Feb 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-05 09:55:00-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Since 2022, the Gilbert Family Foundation has had a home repair program for Detroit residents' homes. Recently, thousands of residents found out that help isn’t coming anytime soon.

“Are they looking for us to die out of here before they help us?” Detroit resident Toyia Watts said. “A lot of people leave here and never get that assistance they need.”

Watts has lived in her east side Detroit home for 69 years. She applied for the home repair program a year ago.

In January, Watts got a letter informing her that she is one of 14,000 residents on the program’s waitlist.

“It just threw me for a loop. How does this program really work for us?” Watts said. “Is it going to be any longer than what the city is doing to us with that renewal grant money?”

The letter Watts received went on to say that due to overwhelming demand, she wouldn’t be receiving any home repair support from the program this year.

Watts needs electrical and plumbing work done to her home.

She says the program gave her hope that Detroit homes in lower-income neighborhoods would get much-needed work done.

That hope is now dwindling.

“Our homes need help, so it hurts a lot when my neighbor across the street needs a roof, he needs a porch… he needs it all,” Watts added.

If you are like Watts and are on the program’s waitlist, there are options you can explore like the city of Detroit’s Housing Resource Helpline, or contact DTE if you have a non-working furnace, hot water heater or refrigerator.

7 Action News reached out to the Gilbert Family Foundation and received the following statement:

“There is incredible demand for home repair in the city of Detroit. According to Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan, the home repair need in Detroit is estimated between $2-4 billion. Detroit Home Repair Fund community partners are working as quickly as possible to service households on the Hotline waitlist. More than 160 residents have received repairs so far and Enterprise Community Partners, which manages the program, anticipates serving 200-300 households this year. Given overwhelming demand and the great need for home repair, we are working with Enterprise and others to explore how to continue the program beyond the original three-year period with the goal of serving even more residents.”