After a Car Accident, CERA was this Man’s Life Saver

After a Car Accident, CERA was this Man’s Life Saver

Frazier Tedford knows all too well what it feels like to find himself in sudden need. A car accident left him in debilitating pain, and he subsequently lost his job. His roommate then came down with COVID-19 and moved out of their rental house.

“I was left holding the bag,” Tedford said, adding that he’s had five surgeries on his back since his accident and hasn’t been able to work. While waiting for his Social Security Disability Insurance to come through, he wasn’t able to pay his rent.

Tedford heard about the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program online and applied immediately.

“Oh my God, this was a life saver,” said the Redford resident after receiving assistance from Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency. “I really appreciate (Wayne Metro) stepping up and helping me out. I was so happy I could have some breathing room. Now I’m caught up, and I can pay my rent and utilities through Social Security Disability.”

Tedford is one of 12,500 people in Wayne County to date who have received rental assistance from Wayne Metro through the CERA program. The program aims to keep residents in their homes and help alleviate some of the financial burden renters are carrying as a result of this difficult year. To meet this critical need, distribute more than $100 million in CERA funds and make it easier for clients to access services, Wayne Metro increased its hours of operation and added more than 150 positions.

CERA Helps Renters Avoid Eviction After Job Losses

CERA Helps Renters Avoid Eviction After Job Losses

Jacqueline Slade, of Highland Park, and Camille Morris, of Detroit, are just two of the more than 12,500 people in Wayne County to date who have received critical financial support from Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency through the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program.

Slade was suffering multiple health issues when the pandemic set in. Already battling a
herniated disc in her back, she was then admitted to the hospital with ulcers, and her doctor ordered bedrest for a month on March 11, 2020 – just days before the stay-at-home order was issued by the state.

“My doctor wasn’t seeing anyone until May, so I couldn’t get the work release I needed from him,” Slade said, adding that she lost her job as a result and was denied unemployment benefits. “I was so worried – I didn’t know what was happening with my income. I was behind in my rent. I didn’t know if I was going to be put out.”

Morris lost her job as a janitor as a result of the pandemic, and her unemployment benefits got off track.

“It was very traumatizing; I was anxiety-ridden not knowing how to pay the rent and if I was going to receive any help,” Morris said.

Slade was able to get by thanks to loans her sister, her daughter and friends, but the financial support available to her was running out. When the CERA program was launched, Slade found the help she needed to move forward.

“(Wayne Metro) took a weight off me that was bearing down on me,” Slade said. “I don’t ever want to get behind in my bills again.”

Morris was also relieved when CERA came through for her.

“I was ecstatic,” she said. “This puts me in a very good mindset for the future.”

Wayne Metro is working hard to keep Wayne County residents in their homes through the CERA program and help alleviate some of the financial burden renters are carrying as a result of this difficult year. In the last week alone, Wayne Metro distributed $7.1 million in funds to Wayne County residents in desperate need.

Client Testimonial: Linda’s Detroit Tax Relief Fund (DTRF) Experience

Linda's Detroit Tax Relief Fund (DTRF) Experience

by De’Asia Brown and Damon Tidwell

The Detroit Tax Relief Fund was created by the Gilbert Family Foundation and Rocket Community Fund to eliminate remaining delinquent property taxes for Detroit homeowners who have been approved for Homeowners Property Tax Exemption Program (HPTAP) and the Pay As You Stay (PAYS) program.

Three years ago, Linda was involved in an accident that pushed her into an unexpected retirement. As she recovered from her injuries and juggled financial obligations, she fell behind on her 2019 property taxes. Linda’s pastor encouraged her to search online for help in her community. A short time after, she learned about the Detroit Tax Relief Fund from watching the news and contacted Wayne Metro. Linda shares her experience below:

“When I received the call from Wayne Metro with the news that I would be receiving the Detroit Tax Relief Fund, I shouted for joy. This program has enabled me to not have to worry about homeownership anymore. Not only did I receive help for my taxes, but I also received help from Wayne Metro with covering some of my other bills. I’m planning to return to work, but in the meantime, the Detroit Tax Relief Fund has helped bridge the gap for me during my temporary disability. I know what it feels like to be in a situation where you could lose your home and Wayne Metro has done an amazing job helping me through that crisis.

I want others in the community to know that there is help out there. I believe Wayne Metro has a well-developed program and despite it seeming too good to be true, this is real relief. The process of applying and uploading your information was simple and easy. If someone needs help with their property taxes, reach out to Wayne Metro.”

Client Testimonial: Arleen’s Detroit Tax Relief Fund (DTRF) Experience

Arleen's Detroit Tax Relief Fund (DTRF) Experience

The Detroit Tax Relief Fund was created by the Gilbert Family Foundation and Rocket Community Fund to eliminate remaining delinquent property taxes for Detroit homeowners who have been approved for Homeowners Property Tax Exemption Program (HPTAP) and the Pay As You Stay (PAYS) program.

One day after leaving her client’s home, Arleen Collins was struck by an SUV while attempting to cross the street. Ms. Collins sustained several injuries and underwent five surgeries as a result of the accident. Due to her injuries and various surgeries, Ms. Collins was unable to work. She spent two years with no income, lack of food, and proper shelter. Ms. Collins sought legal representation for the accident, however, the settlement she received did not supplement the lasting negative impact on her financial stability. 

The small settlement she received allowed her to purchase the home she lives in today. Injured, with no income and limited resources, Ms. Collins was unable to make the necessary repairs that the home required. In addition, she fell behind on utility bills and was at risk of foreclosure due to her inability to afford the property taxes. Collins applied for the HPTAP property tax exemption and was referred to the Detroit Tax Relief Fund for assistance. The Detroit Tax Relief Fund was able to eliminate her delinquent property tax debt allowing Ms. Collins to stay in her home.

Though Ms. Collins is facing another surgery and is still unable to work, she has remained positive, kind, and faithful. Her experience inspired her to go back to school for ministry. She will graduate this July 2021. Ms. Collins is grateful for the assistance she has received and wants to share her story to inspire others:

“The service that Wayne Metro provided was very life-changing for me due to having no income in 2017 and holding onto faith that God would provide. I survived getting hit by an SUV and multiple surgeries. I’m grateful to God and the people he used, such as Wayne Metro. I know it is hard for you to be without a home, food, or a job. However, you must stay strong and know that there are wonderful people out here willing to help you. For two years I was living in a place with no income and now I can say that I live in a home, debt-free thanks to Wayne Metro.”

203K Rehab Loans

Want to increase the number of potential homes you could buy? Want to set yourself apart from the other buyers? Want to customize a home to fit your needs? If you answered yes to any of these questions join us and learn about how the 203K rehabilitations loans can help you get the home of your dreams! There only 2 webinars scheduled, so don’t pass up this opportunity!

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Standing Firm in Seeking Justice, A Letter from Wayne Metro’s CEO

Standing Firm in Seeking Justice

Photo Credit: Jason Armond | Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This week marked the one year anniversary of the tragic and unjust death of George Floyd. The movement to end systematic inequalities has been loud and clear, but the fight to enact universal change charges ahead. Wayne Metro stands with those who continue to be marginalized by a broken, unfair system.

The belief that all people should have hope and opportunity to realize their full potential is Wayne Metro’s vision for healthy and thriving communities. We will continue to leverage that vision as we advocate and support Black Lives Matter, George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, and equitable access to resources for our friends and neighbors. 

There is still a lot of work to do in the country to move this critical reform forward; meanwhile, Community partners are stepping up to support community healing. We are proud to be a part of United Way’s Equity Challenge (click to sign up), and are committed to supporting each other through our work in healing circles. 

We also acknowledge that the work is not just outward, but we must be introspective, remove our bias and refocus to learn more about ourselves and the steps we can take to create change and make a difference. Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is working diligently to strengthen our DE&I efforts across the Agency and initiate conversations that can foster an inclusive environment.  

We all play a part in the movement for equality, now let’s SHOW our community that #TeamWayneMetro has what it takes to foster an equitable and inclusive space with our actions and advocacy.

Have a safe Memorial Day weekend, 

Louis D. Piszker | Chief Executive Officer

Client Testimonial: Henry’s Emergency Plumbing Assistance Program Experience

The Emergency Plumbing Assistance Program is a program that is dedicated to making sure every eligible home will have access to hot and cold water, and at least one functioning toilet, bathroom faucet, shower/bath, kitchen faucet, and laundry tub. It is also the program’s goal that the house has functioning wastewater drainage for water access to be sustainable in the home. The following testimonial is from Henry Willis, an Emergency Plumbing Assistance client.

“My plumbing problem was a disaster. The main drain collapsed and water would back up into the basement when there was rain. There was no sewer line in the house and eventually, another drain system burst in the floor.

At one point, water started to leak into other rooms in my basement and into my furnace. I was pumping water out of the basement every day, for a little over a year. It got to the point where I asked my son and his friends to assist me with repairs. The cost of doing the repairs was too high, as I’m on a fixed income.

I received a phone call from Gary Brown from the City of Detroit around September of 2020 that let me know Wayne Metro was going to help people with plumbing assistance. After speaking with Wayne Metro employees about repairs, inspectors were sent to my house to check and see if I qualified.

Wayne Metro took me out of the nightmare I was in. I’m very grateful for what they did. The plumbing (work) was excellent. The crew wasted no time in executing the job professionally and efficiently. My heart is still warm from what Wayne Metro did for me. I’ve lived a hard-luck life. I’ve never had anyone do anything like that for me.”

203K Rehab Loans

Want to increase the number of potential homes you could buy? Want to set yourself apart from the other buyers? Want to customize a home to fit your needs? If you answered yes to any of these questions join us and learn about how the 203K rehabilitations loans can help you get the home of your dreams! There only 2 webinars scheduled, so don’t pass up this opportunity!

Click here to register.

Client Testimonial: Nuballa’s CERA Program Experience

The COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program is designed to keep Michigan residents who fell behind on their rent and/or utilities during COVID-19 in their homes.

Below is the testimonial from one of Wayne Metro’s CERA clients, Ms. Nuballa Hollings.

“I heard of the CERA program through a friend who is a leasing agent. She told me about CERA because I was sick and wasn’t working due to COVID-19. I was diagnosed with COVID twice. I had pneumonia the second time and ended up losing a grandparent within that time frame.

I think CERA is a beautiful thing. Last year — really the last two years — were very difficult for me. I went from thinking I had the winter flu to having COVID and losing a family member. I’m a person that’s been through a lot, in addition to having to take care of younger siblings.

We had recently moved into the house we’re in now around February 2020. There was a lot of stress on me between my landlord and my illness. Brenda from Wayne Metro eased a lot of that stress. She was very nice and reached out to me via emails and over the phone, trying to make sure I had all of the correct information.

I was sad when I got sick again and I couldn’t work. People were telling me when the pandemic first happened that bills were being forgiven or there was leniency on being able to pay bills. That wasn’t the case. There would be people stressing you out and sending you eviction letters or even shut-off notices.

Things were hard because of my illness. There would be organizations saying they can help me and people would end up being rude to you or not helping you. I feel like with the CERA program, Wayne Metro would follow up and actually help you. Everyone that I’ve talked with at Wayne Metro was polite and caring. The experience was comforting and made me feel less stressed.

I feel like CERA is a blessing because I’ve been given the ringer for a couple of different programs and it was nice to work with an organization that wants to help you. That’s what makes Wayne Metro a step above the rest.”

Client Testimonial: Michelle’s Emergency Plumbing Assistance Program Experience

The Emergency Plumbing Assistance Program is a program that is dedicated to making sure every eligible home will have access to hot and cold water, and at least one functioning toilet, bathroom faucet, shower/bath, kitchen faucet and laundry tub. It is also the program’s goal that the house has functioning wastewater drainage for water access to be sustainable in the home. The following testimonial is from Michelle AliDinar, an Emergency Plumbing Assistance client.

“I am truly grateful to have been recently blessed by Wayne Metropolitan Community’s Emergency Plumbing Assistance Program and I want to share my experience in hopes that many other homeowners who have plumbing emergencies may also be blessed.

I am elated to say that Wayne Metro partially repaired a second-floor bathroom that was not functioning at all for a very long time. Water was leaking through the walls and into the basement, so all water in that bathroom had to be shut-off.

Many plumbers came to evaluate and estimate the work and cost. I soon discovered that rusted and broken stack pipes were throughout my house, and the cost was far beyond my ability to repair. My family has helped but they are also limited.

The next problem was trying to find a plumber that was reliable and reputable. I was amazed how many plumbers were unwilling to provide me with their license, insurance, or a contract that would state a start date and a completion date and spell out details. Most insisted on a 50 – 70% down payment without a contract, which is absurd. With the awesome assistance of Wayne Metro’s program, not only are you spared the debilitating cost of major plumbing problems, but all the plumbers and contractors recruited are thoroughly screened and selected.”

We’d like to give special thanks to Ghadear Eid for the assistance in making this story possible!