President Joe Biden declared a major disaster for Wayne County July 15 as a result of flooding and backups caused by heavy rain July 25-26. The declaration makes federal funding available for assistance to affected individuals.

President Joe Biden declared a major disaster for Wayne County July 15 as a result of flooding and backups caused by heavy rain July 25-26. The declaration makes federal funding available for assistance to affected individuals.

File photo by K. Michelle Moran

President declares major disaster for Wayne County after June flooding, backups

By: K. Michelle Moran | C&G Newspapers | Published July 16, 2021


GROSSE POINTES — Federal relief is on the way to the Grosse Pointes, Harper Woods, Detroit and other Wayne County communities hit hard by a devastating storm that caused widespread flooding and sewage backups June 25-26.

On July 15, the White House announced that President Joe Biden had declared a major disaster for areas of the state impacted by powerful storms that produced flooding and, in some areas, tornadoes.

According to a press release, the president’s declaration “makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Washtenaw and Wayne. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.”

The announcement came roughly two weeks after U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence visited impacted areas July 2 and spoke to residents and officials in several cities, including Harper Woods, Grosse Pointe City and Grosse Pointe Park.

“I knew it was bad, but to hear the personal stories and to hear the anguish and grief was really devastating,” Lawrence said after those visits.

Grosse Pointe Farms officials said flooding damaged more than 19,000 homes in Wayne County.

“I’m grateful for President Biden’s life-saving, quick action to approve the State of Michigan’s presidential disaster declaration request,” Lawrence said in a prepared statement issued July 15. “I’ve met with families and toured communities devastated by the flooding, and this assistance will go a long way to helping Michiganders rebuild and recover. I will continue to work with our local, state and federal officials to ensure our communities get the relief and resources they need.”

Grosse Pointe City has outlined what residents should do to apply for FEMA assistance on its website, and the information is applicable to residents of the City and other impacted communities. Flooding victims should visit   T5_R89.php for more information.

Scott A. Burgess has been named the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery efforts in Wayne and Washtenaw counties.

Residents and businesses that were affected by flooding and sewage backups can register online for assistance at www.DisasterAssis or by calling (800) 621-FEMA (3362) or (800) 462-7585 (teletypewriter) for the hearing and speech impaired. These toll-free numbers will be open for inquiries seven days a week between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. until further notice, White House officials said.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has also announced that it is offering low-interest loans to businesses and residents who experienced flooding/basement backups.

Businesses and private nonprofits will be able to borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace equipment, inventory, machinery and other business assets damaged or ruined by the disaster. Loan increases of as much as an additional 20% will be available, as well, for mitigation improvements such as a sump pump or retaining wall to protect against future damage.

Homeowners are eligible for disaster loans of as much as $200,000 to address property damage, and both renters and homeowners can qualify for up to $40,000 for personal items that were damaged or destroyed by flooding/backups.

At press time, the SBA said interest rates on loans of up to 30 years were as low as 2.88% for businesses, 2% for nonprofits, and 1.625% for homeowners and renters. The SBA said loan terms and amounts are based on the applicant’s finances.

“The SBA is strongly committed to providing Michigan residents with the most effective response possible to assist businesses, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans. Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a prepared statement.

SBA loan applications are available online at For more information, residents and businesses can call the SBA at (800) 659-2955 or email For those mailing their applications, those should be sent to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. The application deadline for property damage is Sept. 13. Economic injury applications must be filed by April 15, 2022.

In addition, as of July 19, the SBA had opened a business recovery center in Wayne County, at the Caroline Kennedy Library, 24590 George St. in Dearborn Heights. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Even if they already filed forms with their respective cities about flood damage, Grosse Pointe Park City Manager Nick Sizeland said that residents would still need to file separate claims with FEMA for federal assistance.