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

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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.” 

More information about what businesses and homeowners should do to apply for FEMA help is forthcoming.

“FEMA will be detailing the process for residents to follow in applying for relief in the coming days and the city will share those details when they become available,” a statement from Grosse Pointe Farms officials reads.

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.DisasterAssistance.gov 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.

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

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