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Pontiac Home Repair Program helps homeowners tackle needed renovations for free

The city's goal is to complete 88 home repair projects within the first year with the help of $3 million in ARPA funds.
Posted at 5:45 PM, Jun 25, 2024

PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) — The city of Pontiac said the Home Repair Program is helping dozens of homeowners with much-needed renovations for free with federal funding.

Delores Stephens is a recipient. She takes pride in maintaining an aesthetically pleasing yard and said her green thumb is genetic.

“I inherited it from my great-grandmother, grandmother, and especially my mom," she explained.

Stephens said, “Those are more marigolds that I planted from seeds, and these are geraniums like those over there.”

She said she tries to extend the same level of care to her home. So, when Stephens learned about the Pontiac Home Repair Program, she applied to receive up to $25,000 in federal funds. That landed her a new quality roof.

“I trusted a contractor prior to this, and they came in and did my roof, but it still (leaked)," Stephens recalled. "(At that point), there’s no funding for me to be able to do it. That meant buckets and towels or whatever. But when the city brought this program about, I applied for it and I am so grateful and thankful.”

In addition to the new roof, Stephens said she’ll be getting a new living room ceiling and new downspouts.

The city said it has a goal to complete 88 home repair projects within the first year of the program. So far, this year, the city said 57 homeowners have been awarded.

Thirty-one more homes are going out for bid within the next two weeks. Eight homes have been completed.

Mayor Tim Greimel explained, “What we do is we sit down with the homeowners, and we actually walk them through putting together their paperwork to prove they own the house, to make sure the house is insured."

I met the mayor at another home under renovation. He explained the city received $3 million from the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) and that funds must be used by the end of 2026. By then, he said roughly 132 homes will be done.

That includes Jane Morris’s home. She said the city also checked to make sure her property taxes are up to date and that she met income qualifications.

“I love it. You know, it’s not leaking anymore," Morris said.

She showed the mayor the work she’s been able to get done after hearing about the repair program through her job.

Morris said she was scouting the program out for seniors and learned that she too might be a good candidate.

“I needed a roof. That was the main thing that I needed," Morris told 7 News Detroit.

Morris said her repaired chimney means no more leakage, and the free money means she didn’t have to wait a few years to build up enough home equity and then use that equity to pay for the repairs.

“I think it’s an amazing program," she said.

Greimel said the city is also supplementing the federal dollars with grant funding, in order to do more.

“It doesn’t just benefit the homeowners. It also benefits the entire neighborhood," the mayor said.

For more information on the program, click here.

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