Detroiters who have questions about property taxes, home repairs and evictions can now call a new hotline to be directed to resources.
City officials joined the Gilbert Family Foundation and CHN Housing Partners on Thursday to launch the Detroit Housing Resource HelpLine. The goal is to offer Detroit renters and homeowners a central place to navigate a range of available housing resources.
The hotline — 866-313-2520 — will lead Detroiters to the Detroit Housing Network, a city-led coalition of housing service providers. It will operate 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Gilbert Family Foundation contributed $10 million toward that effort. Among the services available: mortgage foreclosure prevention counseling, education about fraud and predatory lenders, help reporting poor rental conditions and legal aid for people facing eviction.
“Despite our individual efforts to grow and develop, Detroiters still face a complex web of housing services and programs,” said Linda Smith, executive Director of U-SNAP-BAC, at a news conference. “On average, when a resident calls they’re looking for two or three different housing services from one organization.” This hotline, Smith said, can help a resident reach multiple housing services in one place.
The Detroit Housing Network is made up of seven nonprofit organizations: Central Detroit Christian CDC, Bridging Communities, Jefferson East, Inc., Matrix Human Services, U-SNAP-BAC, the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency and Southwest Economic Solutions. Wayne Metro is operating the service and there’s enough funding for 23 call center staffers.
Laura Grannemann, executive director of the Gilbert Family Foundation, recalled helping a resident who — after compiling all the needed documents to apply for a property tax exemption — realized that the home’s deed was actually under her mother’s name. That’s often referred to as a “tangled title” and a snag many Detroiters deal with, preventing them from accessing assistance programs. There aren’t many legal aid resources to address the problem either.
“What does she do? Where does she go? Who’s helping to shepherd her to the next resource? And luckily, we did shepherd her to the next resource,” Grannemann said.
The new resource is part of a broad $203M housing plan Detroit officials laid out last year to stabilize housing for city residents.
“We’re not telling you we promise we can solve every single problem you have, but what we are going to do is get you immediately to the people who have the resources in your area of need,” said Mayor Mike Duggan on Thursday during the launch of the hotline.