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New program to help Detroit homeowners in flood-prone neighborhoods

New program to help Detroit homeowners in flood-prone neighborhoods

Homeowners in some Detroit neighborhoods can apply for a new city program to help protect their basements from future flooding. 

City officials announced the Basement Backup Protection Program on Monday. It’s an up to $15 million plan, with a pilot phase funded by $2.4 million in federal COVID-19 pandemic relief dollars. 

Last summer’s severe rainfall — deemed a major disaster by President Joe Biden — left cars stranded on flooded freeways and damaged homes and businesses. The event led to the creation of the program to install backwater valves and sump pumps, and protect residential homeowners in 11 Detroit neighborhoods who have historically faced basement backups during large downpours. 

Late last June when nearly 6 inches of rain fell, more than 32,000 basements saw backed-up rainwater or combined sewage. 

“We had about a dozen neighborhoods in this city that are low-lying areas, vulnerable to flooding in times of torrential rains,” Mayor Mike Duggan said Monday during a news briefing. 

A man in a red SUV surrounded by other cars and trucks that are also stuck and stalled waits to get help on Interstate 94 West near Trumbull and Rosa Parks in Detroit on June 26, 2021. Heavy rains in metro Detroit caused massive flooding in homes, streets and freeways.

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The program will first begin in the Aviation Sub and Victoria Park neighborhoods, two communities that were hit hardest during the June floods, according to the city. That work will launch in spring and 530 homes are expected to be eligible across those two neighborhoods.