Roof repairs are among the most needed from the Renew Detroit program, which has  received $15 million in additional funding from the state of Michigan. // Stock Photo
DBusiness Daily Update: Renew Detroit Home Repair Program Expands to M with M Boost, and More
Roof repairs are among the most needed from the Renew Detroit program, which has  received $15 million in additional funding from the state of Michigan. // Stock Photo
Roof repairs are among the most needed from the Renew Detroit program, which has received $15 million in additional funding from the state of Michigan. // Stock Photo

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Renew Detroit Home Repair Program Expands to $45M with $15M Boost

The Renew Detroit program, which helps lower-income seniors and homeowners with disabilities receive major home repairs, has received $15 million in additional funding from the state of Michigan. Renew Detroit now has grown to $45 million and will help 2,000 Detroiters instead of 1,500 over its two phases.

Historically, the city has funded 200 to 250 annual home repairs through its Community Development Block Grant-funded Senior Emergency Home Repair (SEHR) program at a cost of up to $6 million per year. With demand far exceeding the funding available, Renew Detroit was launched to tap ARPA funds to further address this great need for assistance in the community.

In addition to increasing the program to help more Detroiters, the extra funding will allow the roof-replacement program to be expanded to also include new windows. Detroiters who are approved for the repairs will have one major project performed, whichever is deemed most urgent.

Roofs remain the greatest home repair need in neighborhoods across the city. Eighty percent of SEHR requests involve new roofs, and 50 percent of Detroiters who apply for home weatherization grants are turned down because of the condition of the home’s roof. A leaky roof can lead to major internal home deterioration, mold, and poor energy-efficiency and higher utility bills that come with it.

Applications for Phase 2 of Renew Detroit will begin Oct. 1 and close Oct. 31. Those who qualify will have their application review completed by spring 2023, with all work expected to be completed by the end of 2024. The Renew Detroit team will reach out to those who qualified for Phase 1 but were not selected to assist them with applying for Phase 2. Additionally, Renew Detroit staff will be out in the community helping residents apply.

To be eligible, homeowners must meet the following criteria:

  • Age 62 or older or be a homeowner of any age with a disability.
  • Be approved for a 2022 property tax exemption through the Homeowner Property Exemption (HOPE) program, which provides property tax relief to eligible lower-income homeowners. For eligibility requirements and to apply, Detroiters can call 313-244-0274 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday or go to gov/HOPE. Please note, homeowners must apply each year for the HOPE program.
  • Must not have received a home repair grant from the city of $10,000 or more in past 10 years.

After meeting these initial criteria, homeowners will be selected based on a home repair score, which includes length of ownership, number of people in the home, and level of their HOPE tax exemption. The city also prioritized applicants on the existing Senior Emergency Home Repair wait list or who were unable to secure weatherization improvements because of the condition of their roof.

For those Detroit residents who need home repairs but are not old enough or do not have a disability, the city offers the Detroit 0 percent Interest Home Repair Loan Program. This program provides loans to Detroit homeowners of $5,000 to $25,000 to complete home repairs and resolve health and safety issues.

Homeowners have 10 years to pay back the loans, which are provided at 0 percent interest — meaning homeowners pay back only what they borrow. The program is a city-led partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) launched in March 2015. This public-private commitment is between LISC, the city’s Housing and Revitalization Department, Bank of America, and the Rocket Community Fund.  To apply, visit www.detroithomeloans.org.

State Judge Stays Ruling Regarding Implementation of Paid Sick Leave, Minimum Wage

Amanda Fisher, Michigan State director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), issued the following statement on Judge Douglas Shapiro’s recent stay of his ruling regarding the ability of the legislature to “adopt and amend” citizen-initiated legislation in the same session:

“Michigan small businesses were granted a brief reprieve today. The consequences of implementing the unamended paid sick leave mandate would have been disastrous for small business owners in 2018 when the economy was flourishing. Four years later, as small businesses are still trying to recover from government shutdowns and survive increases in prices and labor costs, it would be a death knell.”

Rocket Mortgage Launches New Home Equity Loan

Rocket Mortgage in Detroit, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, today introduced a home equity loan to give Americans one more way to pay off debt that has risen along with inflation.

Americans are grappling with high credit card bills — driven by a combination of rising prices, and record-high credit card rates resulting from the Federal Reserve’s aggressive Fed funds rate increases. This combination has consumers looking for options to make their monthly payments more manageable.

“Our goal is to consistently create financial products that help our clients achieve their goals,” says Bob Walters, CEO of Rocket Mortgage. “In the current market, short-term interest rates have risen sharply — making it much harder to pay off credit card debt. With our new home equity loan, clients can improve their lives by having a payment they can more comfortably afford.”

In total, Americans have nearly $28 trillion in home equity, according to the Federal Reserve. At the same time, the country’s total household debt stood at $15.84 trillion as of Q1 2022 — $1.7 trillion higher than at the end of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic – according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The report also showed that credit card balances in Q1 were $71 billion higher than in 2021.

Homeowners can access $45,000 to $350,000 of their home’s equity in 10- or 20-year term, fixed-rate loans – while maintaining at least 10% equity in their home. This new product fits well into the Rocket platform, providing a financial solution no matter the need. Consumers looking for smaller loan amounts can secure $2,000 to $45,000 from sister company Rocket Loans.

“Rocket’s talented technology, product strategy, and capital markets team members came together quickly to develop this important mortgage product, demonstrating the power of the tech platform at Rocket Companies,” Walters says.

Homeowners can connect with Rocket Mortgage’s Home Loan Experts at 800-704-9733 to learn more about this product.

Survey: Consumers Adjust to Inflation as Labor Market Expectations Worsen

Consumer sentiment was essentially unchanged from June, when it had reached an all-time low, according to the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.

Most components of U-M’s Consumer Sentiment Index were little changed, though buying conditions for durables adjusted upward, primarily due to perceptions of easing supply constraints. Still, buying conditions for durables remained 28 percent lower than July 2021, according to U-M economist Joanne Hsu, director of the surveys.

Overall, the index rose by 1.5 index points in July, well within the margin of error and remaining almost 37 percent below a year ago. The 2nd-quarter decline in overall GDP came as little surprise to consumers, who had slowed down their spending.

“Robust consumer spending had been supported by strong labor markets and the expectation of growing incomes, but with persistently high prices eroding those incomes, consumers are adjusting their spending habits to cope,” Hsu says. “With emerging concerns that rising unemployment could be on the horizon, this pullback in consumer spending is likely to be amplified if their concerns over the future path of the labor market continue to grow.”

Consumers’ views on their personal finances, which remain extremely negative at 35 percent below a year ago, continue to be dominated by concerns over rising prices. Inflation was cited as the main factor for declining living standards over the past year by 49 percent of all households, which was exceeded only once before in 1951. At the same time, an increasing share of consumers reported coping by reducing their spending.

Furthermore, with gas prices easing over the last month, the share of consumers mentioning gas during their interviews leveled off to 46 percent, compared with 50 percent in June and only 15 percent in January 2022. Consumers now expect gas prices to rise a median of less than one cent both over the next year and as well as the next five years, suggesting that they may believe gas prices have crested.

Over half of consumers expect their incomes to grow over the next year, with anticipated wage gains remaining at the same 1.1 percent rate from June. Consumers under age 45 continue to be more upbeat than older consumers, expecting a one-year gain in income of 4.5 percent. Only 17 percent of consumers, however, expect their income growth to exceed inflation.

Consumers expressed even less confidence in labor markets more generally; unemployment expectations worsened by 14 percent from last month and 44 percent from a year ago, reaching its lowest reading since 2011. While consumers thus far do not appear worried about their own employment prospects, further weakening of labor markets would generate more downside pressure on consumer spending, Hsu said.

The Consumer Sentiment Index rose to 51.5 in the July 2022 survey, up from 50 in June and below last July’s 81.2. The Expectations Index rose to 58.1, up from 53.8 in June and below last July’s 84.5. The Current Conditions Index fell to 47.3, down from 47.5 in June and below last July’s 79.

To review the full results of the surveys, visit here.

PM Environmental Claims Spot on ENR Top 200 Environmental Firms List

PM Environmental (PM), a national, full-service environmental consulting and engineering services firm in Berkley, has claimed a spot on the 2022 Engineering News-Record (ENR) Top 200 Environmental Firms List for the fourth time in the last five years.

The ENR Top 200 Environmental Firms List recognizes the top firms in the environmental services sector based on participants’ 2021 gross revenue. The list is comprised of traditional environmental risk management firms, like PM, as well as water and wastewater treatment firms, and hazardous and nuclear waste mega firms.

PM is one of 53 firms whose revenue was based solely on environmental services. PM was also one of just 19 with 100 percent of its revenue going towards consulting and/or studies.

“In our 30th year, PM is honored to be in the top 200 of this highly competitive and prestigious listing,” says Mike Kulka, co-founder and CEO of PM Environmental. “This is an incredible accomplishment for PM and something that we strive for year after year. We have maintained a strong culture that is guided by a deep technical bench of professionals and is driven by a savvy strategic leadership team.”

In addition to achieving a spot on the 2022 ENR Top 200 Environmental Firms List, PM is ranked No.1 in Michigan and nationally has ranked in the top 20 environmental consulting and engineering services company by EDR ScoreKeeper.

Buddy’s Pizza, Pizzerias Nationwide Raise $10K+ on National Detroit-style Pizza Day

To celebrate the second annual National Detroit-Style Pizza Day June 23, Buddy’s Pizza partnered with pizzerias across the U.S. to give back to their local communities.

Buddy’s Pizza donated $1 from every pizza sold at all 21 locations on June 23 to The Salvation Army, and each Detroit-style pizzeria from around the country donated a portion of sales to a local organization whose mission is to fight hunger and/or homelessness.

“National Detroit-Style Pizza Day isn’t only about raising awareness for the authentic pizza style and how it’s changing the industry – it’s also about coming together to give back to those in need,” says Wes Pikula, chief brand officer at Buddy’s. “Buddy’s is committed to supporting the communities we’re a part of, and we’re proud to have partnered with other Detroit-Style pizzerias throughout the nation who share the same commitment.”

In total, the pizzerias raised approximately $10,500 and will give the donated funds to local nonprofits of their choice.

The participating pizzerias made the following donations from sales on June 23:

  • Buddy’s Pizza donated $1 from every pizza sold at all 21 locations to The Salvation Army.
  • Detroit-Style Pizza Co. in Detroit donated 10 percent of each order to Gleaners.
  • DTown Pizzeria in Los Angeles donated 10 percent of sales to No Kid Hungry.
  • Fat Chris’s Pizza and Such in Chicago donated 15 percent of sales to Nourishing Hope.
  • Lions, Tigers, and Squares in New York donated $1 per pizza sold to New York City Rescue Mission.
  • Paulie Gee’s Logan Square in Chicago donated $1 per Detroit-style pizza sold to No Kid Hungry with Greater Chicago Food Depository.
  • Rice N’ Pie in Atlanta donated $1 per pizza sold to a local charity.
  • SoDough Square in Orlando, Fla. donated $1 per pizza to Nathaniel’s Hope.
  • Square Pie Guys in San Francisco donated 2 percent of sales from all stores to San Francisco-Marin Food Bank.
  • Square Pizza Co. in San Diego donated $1 per pizza sold to San Diego Food Bank.
  • Tony’s Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco donated all proceeds from each Detroit-style pizza sold to San Francisco Marin Food Bank.

Buddy’s founded National Detroit-Style Pizza Day in 2021 to celebrate its 75th anniversary and commemorate the company’s role in creating the innovative pizza style. The national day allows Detroit-Style pizzerias across the nation to honor the history, style and roots of where it began.

Kimmie Horne Jazz Festival Returns to Southfield Aug. 12-13

The city of Southfield will host the 6th annual Kimmie Horne Jazz Festival on Friday, Aug. 12 from 6-10:30 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 13 from 3-10:30 p.m. on the front lawn of the Southfield Municipal Campus, 26000 Evergreen Road.

The free, outdoor two-day event will feature live music, food trucks, boutique vendors, and a beer and wine tent as well as a Jazzy Roll Bike Cruise, and presentation of a lifetime achievement award to a legendary artist.

Aug. 13 will kick-off with a Fitness and Fun morning for the entire family from 8-11 a.m. at the Southfield Municipal Campus featuring a 5k Jazzy Walk at 8 a.m., Jazzy Roll Bike Cruise at 8:30 a.m., the High-Stepping Majorettes at 9 a.m. followed by a Jazzy Diva Hula Hoop Workout at 10 a.m.

The Kimmie Horne Jazz Festival is free and open to the public. Please bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating. VIP Parking will be available on the Southfield Municipal Campus for $10 in both the north and south parking lots. Parking fund proceeds will benefit the Friends of the Southfield Public Arts. A variety of food will be available for purchase from several food trucks in addition to boutique vendors offering unique products for sale.

For more information, visit here or call 248-796-5130.

Northwood University Partnering with Folds of Honor to Help Children of Service Members

Northwood University in Midland is partnering with Folds of Honor and Lt.  Col. Dan Rooney to provide two full-ride tuition scholarships to awardees who choose to continue their education at Northwood.

“We are committed to supporting sons and daughters of fallen or disabled service members by affording them an education,” says Kent MacDonald, president of Northwood University. “Northwood has a 40-year history of supporting our military, and we are proud of that tradition. The Michigan Department of Veteran Affairs recognizes Northwood University as a Gold Star Status Military Friendly School.”

The partnership was announced during Northwood’s annual Bay Harbor Celebration Weekend. The event is a tradition among Northwood University supporters and alumni, and an opportunity to honor The Northwood Idea and shared principles of freedom, personal responsibility, and individual worth.

During the Bay Harbor Celebration Weekend, Northwood awarded Rooney with one of its Wings of Freedom Awards. Rooney is a motivational speaker, fighter pilot, patriotic philanthropist, PGA professional, golf course developer, and author.

He presented a keynote address during a ceremony Saturday, when it was announced Folds of Honor will be partnering with Northwood University.

This new partnership means Northwood University is accepting a $5,000 annual award per student from the Folds of Honor organization. To make this opportunity available to more Folds of Honor recipients, Northwood seeks the help of donors to help cover the cost of tuition and fees.

Donors who believe in liberty and supporting fallen or disabled soldiers and their families can help by providing annual $20,000 scholarships; a legacy investment of $500,000 for an endowed scholarship that will support our service members in perpetuity; or a donation of any size online at www.northwood.edu/give.

For more information about Folds of Honor, visit https://foldsofhonor.org/. To learn more about Northwood University, visit https://northwood.edu.

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