FEMA helping homeowners in flood prone area

Posted at 6:14 PM, Mar 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-30 18:16:18-04

More than a dozen homeowners in Dearborn Heights living in a flood prone area are getting some help from FEMA, but they will have to sell their house.

City officials held a press conference outlining some details. Some neighbors are concerned about the plan.

"It's a panic attack," homeowner Patrick Willis said. "As soon as it starts to rain. These people starting running into their basements wondering, is it coming in the house."

Willis grew up in a house that sits next to Ecorse Creek. It has been shifting towards the homes and causing severe flood damage.

City officials announced Wednesday the approval of a $2.8 million FEMA grant that will be used to purchase 15 homes that sit along the creek.

They plan to demolish the houses and turn the vacant area into a green space.

Homeowners have a choice: accept the offer determined by appraisers hired by the city... or stay, knowing it will likely flood again.

Willis and many of his neighbors would sell if they got a fair market price for their homes and IF moving costs are covered, which is not included in the grant.

"There are senior citizens on this block that are bedridden is going to be a lot of them to find someone place after they pay everything off and to move and to start over again."

"No one has come to us, no one even told us what the plan was. Now we are finding out, watching the news," neighbor Angie Lee said.

She and other homeowners are not included in the grant and are concerned property value will go down.

Lee wonder wants to know if demolishing homes will impact their health.

"I know there is mold in the homes," she said. "There is mold in the basement."

Mayor Dan Paletko said they assess the homes for mold and asbestos and demolish it properly.

"We put specifications they have to adhere and contains the particular area," Paletko said.

City council has to sign off on the initiative. After that, the city will hire an independent appraiser and start going to door to door.

The mayor expects that to take place in May.