Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has completed the transfer of $900,000 to the City of Detroit’s Housing & Revitalization Department (HRD), the first tranche of a $1.8 million commitment, to fund a home repair grant program for homeowners on the City’s east side. The program, one component of the Community Benefits Agreement FCA signed in May, provides eligible homeowners living near FCA’s new assembly plant on Mack Avenue with grants of up to $15,000 per property to invest in-home repairs.
“Homeownership has widely been considered a part of the ‘American Dream’,” Mark Stewart, Chief Operating Officer, FCA North America, said. “We want to help our neighbors keep their dreams alive by providing them with an opportunity to invest in their homes.”
In a departure from similar programs, the FCA-funded home repair program is tailored to the needs of individual homeowners and, most importantly, homeowners are not required to repay the (non-cash) grants.
“This is the type of opportunity, along with the jobs we’re bringing to the city, that will help this community continue to grow and thrive for many years to come,” Stewart added.
The initial phase of the grant program kicked off in mid-August with homeowners on Beniteau Street (between Kercheval Avenue and Warren Avenue). An HRD inspector is working with homeowners to determine which repairs are a priority and is bidding work out to a list of pre-qualified contractors. It is anticipated that owner-occupied homes in the neighborhood surrounding FCA’s new assembly plant will have the opportunity to apply to receive a home repair grant this spring. Details on this process will be made available through HRD.
“One of the most important ways to keep our neighborhoods healthy is to preserve our existing housing stock. Unfortunately, many necessary repairs, such as roof replacement and furnaces, are cost-prohibitive for residents,” Nicole Wyse, Associate Director, HRD said. “The FCA-funded program will enable homeowners to address these repair issues that otherwise would have been prolonged and continue to live comfortably in their homes.”
Following weeks of public meetings with residents in the neighborhoods around the Mack plant, FCA and the City of Detroit committed to a Community Benefits Agreement, which provides more than $35 million in support for neighborhood improvements, housing, workforce development, education and training programs, and environmental initiatives. This commitment is above and beyond FCA’s $2.5 billion investment in the new assembly plant and creation of 4,950 new jobs, which will support production of an all-new three-row, full-size Jeep® SUV and next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee (WL), as well as plug-in hybrid versions with the flexibility to build fully battery-electric models in the future.