May 4, 2022 - News

Billionaire Dan Gilbert launches $20 M fund for Detroit home repairs

Homes on a neighborhood street in southwest Detroit. Photo: City of Detroit via Flickr

Detroit billionaire Dan Gilbert and his wife Jennifer’s foundation is starting up a $20 million fund to pay for home repairs, which are desperately needed across the city’s aging housing stock.

What’s happening: More than 1,000 homeowners should be able to access free repair services for their roofs, foundations, stairs and other areas through the three-year program.

  • The Gilbert Family Foundation is giving $10 million, with $8 million coming from health company ProMedica and $2 million from utility DTE Energy.
  • The foundation picked two national nonprofits, Enterprise Community Partners and Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, to administer the fund — with local groups like the Eastside Community Network and United Community Housing Coalition doing on-the-ground coordination.

The big picture: Approximately 24,000 Detroit houses, or 5% of housing stock, need major work, according to a University of Michigan study as reported by BridgeDetroit.

  • Mayor Mike Duggan has been a target of criticism over a lack of focus on the depth of home repair needs in the city.
  • Detroit is also spending $30 million of its federal windfall through the American Rescue Plan Act on home repair.

Between the lines: The move is part of the Gilberts' $500 million commitment over 10 years for Detroit philanthropic pursuits.

  • The home repair program builds on their $15 million Detroit Tax Relief Fund, which has paid off back property taxes for more than 5,000 residents in an effort to stem the tide of foreclosures.

What's next: Contractors will be needed to do the repair work — a challenge with labor shortages in skilled trades.

Editor's note: This headline was corrected to show the Gilbert Family Foundation is starting the home repair fund and kicking in $10M, not the fund's full $20M.

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