By Grace DeRose-Wilson, Screening Integration Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan
Many low-income individuals must decide between putting food on the table and doing basic home repairs and maintenance. This decision often results in home repairs and maintenance going undone. If you are a homeowner in Oakland County or Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood in Wayne County you may be able to receive free help with home repairs.
Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan (RTSEM) provides a wide range of services, from volunteer repairs such as yard clean-up, painting, and wheelchair ramp construction, to contractor repairs, like roof replacement, accessibility modifications, and mold remediation. The goal of these services is to help low-income individuals maintain safe and stable homes in an affordable manner.
RTSEM believes that all homeowners should be able to live in safe, healthy homes. To provide free home repairs to qualified homeowners, RTSEM partners with many small businesses, corporations, and other organizations. Using these partnerships, RTSEM organizes over 1000 volunteers to help 60 low-income homeowners per year.
To be eligible for RTSEM services applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Applicant must own and live in the home.
- Applicant must be current on all property taxes, mortgage payments, and homeowner’s insurance for the property.
- Applicant’s home must be a free-standing, single-family home.
- Applicant must meet one of the following criteria: be a senior citizen, receive federal disability benefits, be a veteran, or have children living in the home.
- Applicant’s household must have an annual income of up to 80% of HUD’s area median income.
RTSEM is always looking for ways to expand its service area. They currently have plans to expand services to more neighborhoods in Wayne County and are hoping to expand into Macomb County in 2020. By 2021 RTSEM hopes to provide services to Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne counties.
RTSEM focuses on providing services to the most vulnerable members in its service area to help those individuals stay in their homes. RTSEM believes when homeowners can maintain and stay in a safe home it becomes less possible for gentrification to happen in that area.
If you are interested in the services that RTSEM provides, becoming a volunteer, or filling out an application for services, check out Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan.
Grace DeRose-Wilson is a Screening Integration Coordinator for MiCAFE at Elder Law of Michigan and has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since November 2018. As a Screening Integration Coordinator, Grace helps Michigan seniors navigate the benefits application process, and helps raise awareness of benefits through community outreach events.