New Video The Water is NOT Restored in Detroit


Many Detroiters are working hard to bring down the COVID-19 curve and keep their neighborhoods safe.

But in the midst of this pandemic that is hitting black people hard, in the nation’s largest MAJORITY BLACK CITY Shutoff notices continue and the water hasn’t been restored for many in spite of the Governor’s Executive Order.

Don’t let this failure to do what is mandated make us more vulnerable the next wave of COVID-19.

Call the Governor’s Office 517.373.3400 (dial 5)

More: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2… https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-can… http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org

BREAKING: From the Guardian

Detroit families still without clean water despite shutoffs being lifted

“Common sense says it is racism,” said Bouier, noting that most of those who have had their water shut off are black and poor. The fatality rate of Covid-19 in Michigan is 7% of confirmed cases, but while African Americans make up only 14% of the state’s population, they make up 40% of the state’s deaths.

Brightmoor Connections Food Pantry
https://brightmoorconnection.org

New VIDEO Turn The Water On Mayor Duggan

To survive the next wave of COVID-19, EVERYONE must have access to affordable water. In the midst of a pandemic hitting black people hard, in the nation’s largest MAJORITY BLACK CITY

Mayor Duggan is the face of Detroit’s Black Women and Children WITHOUT WATER

Call Mayor Duggan! Tell him to turn the water on so we can ALL wash our hands!

Turn The Water On Mayor Duggan! 313.224.3400 http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org

BREAKING: From the Guardian

Detroit families still without clean water despite shutoffs being lifted

“Common sense says it is racism,” said Bouier, noting that most of those who have had their water shut off are black and poor. The fatality rate of Covid-19 in Michigan is 7% of confirmed cases, but while African Americans make up only 14% of the state’s population, they make up 40% of the state’s deaths.

Brightmoor Connections Food Pantry
https://brightmoorconnection.org

 Rejecting and Resisting the Resilience Trap : Black Detroiters don’t always bounce back

COVID-19 is the most recent and perhaps the most horrific in a series of catastrophic illnesses fueled by long standing health inequities that make Black Detroiters especially vulnerable. The most recent data indicates that Detroit accounts for 9,881 confirmed cases with 1,197 deaths. (May 7, 2020)

Elected officials and senior public leaders tasked with representing the needs and interest of Black Detroiters have been heard lately referring to the resilience of Black Detroiters as a strategy for our survival in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The last time we checked, the definition of resilience included: “The ability to adapt or rebound quickly from change, illness or bad fortunes; knocked down by challenges but they return as a stronger person more steadfast than before.”

The truth is that Black Detroiters don’t always bounce back from the historic systemic and structural damage visited upon our households and our communities.

The truth is that Black Detroiters don’t always bounce back from the historic systemic and structural damage visited upon our households and our communities.  This is underwritten by the facts that:

  • We don’t bounce back from mass water shut offs the absence of affordable running water in our homes
  • We don’t bounce back when our homes are overtaxed and swindled from us by unscrupulous lenders
  • We don’t bounce back when we are displaced by rents that consume more than 60% of our monthly income
  • We don’t bounce back from low pay no benefit jobs that make being an essential worker a death wish
  • We don’t bounce back from a plan for economic revitalization that transfers billions of public tax benefits to wealthy white developers and leaves our neighborhoods shrouded in blight and disrepair

Calls for resilience from policy makers are no substitute for thoughtful and bold initiatives that get at and eliminate the root of these unjust conditions reinforced by a status quo system of white supremacy.

In fact, the call for resilience and the need for Black folks to “step up” in the face of the most devastating public health event in this century, could be interpreted as shifting the responsibility for defeating this pandemic to individuals and to giving those in power a pass.

The call for resilience in the face of COVID-19 also reinforces the racist notion that Black bodies are somehow more capable of experiencing repeated episodes of physical pain, sorrow and loss – that somehow both experiencing and surviving trauma is normalized among Black Detroiters.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Majority Black Detroit deserves leadership that rejects and resists the notion of individual resilience as a strategy for COVID-19 relief and recovery.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Majority Black Detroit deserves leadership that rejects and resists the notion of individual resilience as a strategy for COVID-19 relief and recovery.  Instead, we call upon our elected officials and public leaders to be guided by a strategy that centers racial justice and equity in COVID resource allocation and related public policies. To do anything less will undermine the long term success of Black Detroiters for generations to come.

We Don’t Need Another QLine

In a recent Crain’s Detroit Business article on the new DDOT Director, Mikel Ogelsby, Mayor Duggan frontlines the idea of an expansion of light rail as part of the new directors responsibilities.

We do not need another Q Line (light rail) on Jefferson or Michigan, we need buses back on time, service restored, and riders & drivers safe.  When bus riders are waiting hours for the Jefferson #9 on weekends prior to Covid 19, what we need is better service.

We are concerned that this focus on light rail development distracts from the need to restore bus service in majority black neighborhoods that serve essential workers. These are workers who remain employed during this pandemic/public health crisis and need better service.  We cannot neglect essential bus riders and their families further siphoning our public funds to more failed private development deals.

We need buses back on time, service restored, and riders & drivers safe! The QLine is not a post-pandemic priority for Detroiters, just more of the same. 

Link (behind firewall, so we’ve quoted below)https://www.crainsdetroit.com/people/detroits-new-public-transportation-director-comes-south-florida-boston-transit-programs

Duggan: “”I also think it’s within the realm of possibility, depending what happens in the national elections, there could be a national infrastructure bill that could have the potential for light rail,” Duggan said, and wants Detroit to be “ready if the opportunity presents itself, whether it’s on Jefferson (Avenue), whether it’s on Michigan (Avenue), we’re looking at a lot of different choices.”

Ogelsby: “I’ve dealt with a lot of capital projects. I’ve started them from the ground up,” Oglesby said. “I believe in creativity. But more importantly, I think, one thing that’s happening here that we really have to focus in on is the safety of the rider and the safety of the operators. So when we come in it’s not just going to be all innovation, it’s going to be getting the base solid.”

Community: “Some activists have spoken for the need for DDOT to ramp up service so essential workers aren’t forced onto overcrowded buses. Calls have also been made, including by Detroit City Council, for a low-income fair pilot program. DDOT said in an April memo to council that it did not recommend it. DDOT has a reduced-fare program for seniors, those with disabilities, students and Medicare recipients, it said, and said the city could not afford the pressure that would cause on the its general fund.”

RENT CANCELLATION is not the same as a STAY on EVICTIONS

Please note: The Eviction Stay has now been extended to June 11, 2020 by Governor Whitmer.

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/05/14/gov-whitmer-extends-eviction-suspensions-through-june-11/5196505002/?fbclid=IwAR1tWGdowOvFxNenN9kIr06q1pXddc9gblwF_suTh5913j8wdIzQK_7YE9o

In consideration of the devastating health and economic impact of COVID-19 virus pandemic many housing advocates and activists are calling for a MORATORIUM on rent payments including late penalties and fees. Some advocates are even calling for RENT CANCELLATION during the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to a STAY on EVICTIONS.  (Moratorium is a suspension or an authorized delay or period of time during which the law authorizes a delay in payment or some other legal obligation. This type of moratorium is most often invoked during times of distress such as war, natural disaster or emergencies)

We want to make sure Detroit renters are clear on the current policy that exist in regard to rent payments and evictions. The STAY on EVICTIONS issued under Michigan Governor Whitmer’s current Emergency Order extends the STAY on EVICTIONS thru May 28, 2020.  This also applies to 36th District Court.

The STAY on EVICTIONS does not mean you do not have to pay your rent. RENT CANCELLATION or RENT FORGIVENESS is not the same as a STAY on EVICTIONS.  

Nowhere in the Governor’s recent Emergency Order or the 36th District court order does it say or suggest that you do not have to pay your rent or that you are not expected to pay your rent during the COVID-19 emergency.

At Detroit People’s Platform we have joined with national partners in advocating for proposals to cancel the debt of rent and utilities arrears as a result of the tremendous economic hardship many of our individuals and families are facing. However, that advocacy does not at this time influence the nature of the Governor Whitmer’s Emergency Order in Michigan or the 36th District Court policy on evictions here in Detroit.

Details of Governor Whitmer’s Order and the 36th District Court Order from The Supreme Court as it relates to rent payments include the following:

  • The current extension on Stay on Evictions that also includes pending court evictions is 5-28-20. After which non-payment of rent action can be filed by landlord or property owner.
  • Michigan’s current RENT MORATORIUM applies also to cases that were filed and evictions put forth before the Governor’s executive order.
    • If you had an eviction case in process prior to the STAY on EVICTIONS, deadlines for filing complaints & additional paperwork is suspended and the delay will not be held against you. Contact the court for further guidance. Some courts will have e-filing &/or mailing available.
  • exception is that if any tenant or mobile homeowner poses substantial risk to another person or property they can be evicted.
  • After 5-28-2020 landlord are expected to take the same measures required for a legal eviction process.

Detroit City Council unanimously approve FY20/21 Budget

Today, Tuesday May 5. 2020, Detroit City Council unanimously approved budget cuts for the next fiscal year proposed by Mayor Duggan. These cuts are in response to anticipated revenue losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

We want to thank everyone who engaged in this process, made calls and emails, virtually attended and participated in meetings and raised awareness through their networks and social media. Thank you for joining our Budget Action Week

We will continue to challenge the members of City Council to acknowledge that these are extraordinary times and that we need extraordinary leadership to make bold decisions that buck the status quo.

Detroit People’s Platform and Equitable Detroit, the citywide Community Benefits Coalition, will continue this budget fight as the Mayor’s proposed cuts to the current year’s budget will be discussed and voted on in the coming weeks.

We continue to advocate for and take action on budgeting for the common good through the lens of Racial Equity.

1. We demand the process and decision making be transparent. These decisions will impact Detroiters for generations to come.

2. We demand the allocation of the budget and relief funds be centered in racial equity that produces economic and social well-being for Majority Black Detroit.

3. We demand a process that holds elected officials and decision makers accountable to Detroiters.

We continue to encourage all Detroiters to call City Council and demand that they challenge the Mayor on these cuts and other decisions that do not put Detroiters first. Continue to join Detroit People’s Platform as we exercise our political muscles and flex our power.

More:
https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2020/05/05/detroit-council-oks-budget-cuts-cope-covid-19-induced-deficit/3083991001/

2020

Detroit City Council Contact Information

Brenda Jones, Council President, At-Large
313-224-1245 – @DetCouncilPres
bjones_mb@detroitmi.gov

Janeé L Ayers, At-Large
313-224-1027 – @Ayers4Detroit
councilmemberayers@detroitmi.gov

James Tate, District 1
313-224-1027 – @CouncilmanTate
councilmembertate@detroitmi.gov

Roy McCalister Jr., District 2
313-224-4535 – @RoyMcCalisterJr
councilmemberMcCalister@detroitmi.gov

Scott Benson, District 3
313-224-1198 – @Scottinthe3rd
bensons@detroitmi.gov

André Spivey, District 4
313-224-4505 – @AndreLSpivey
councilmanspivey@detroitmi.gov

Mary Sheffield, President Pro Temp, District 5
313-224-4505 – @MsMarySheffield
councilmembersheffield@detroitmi.gov

Raquel Casteñeda-Lopez, District 6
313-224-2450 – @Raquel4Detroit
councilmemberraquel@detroitmi.gov

Gabe Leland, District 7
313-224-2151 – @GabeLeland
lelandg@detroitmi.gov

Charter Commission expected to present budget to City Council

Breaking: Detroit City Charter Commission will present their budget to City Council.

We believe The Charter Commission will submit their budget today and possibly present it during Friday’s Executive Sessions. We will keep this page updated. 

Just in from Charter Commissioner Nicole Small: Detroit Charter Commission Budget and Finance Committee will meet April 30, 2020 at 12pm to discuss amending our proposed FY 20-21 budget for City Council’s approval. We will work to appeal to Council not to support Councilman Scott Benson’s proposal to slash our current budget by 70% and replace the Charters independent Counsel with the City’s attorney’s appointed by the Mayor.

Our goal is to consider any potential budget amendments without compromising the work needed to ensure the Citizens have a voice in the revised Charter and that the people will still have access to the revision process. Please join us Thursday, April 30th at 12pm if you have any questions ⬇️

Join with Google Meet meet.google.com/dmp-rugr-vio Join by phone +1 318-814-8301 (PIN: 339959281)

As part of our ongoing monitoring of Detroit City Council and this week’s Executive Sessions we strive to keep our members and supporters aware of important aspect of the Budget Process.

On Monday, Council Member Scott Benson presented proposed revisions to the City Charter Revision Commission’s budget.

Yesterday, Wednesday April 29th, Charter Commission members Carol Weaver, Barbara Wynder and Nicole Small and the Commission’s Corporate Council joined the Executive Session at 10 am.

The Charter Commissioners are expected to return today with their own budget proposal for City Council to discuss and consider.

We at Detroit People’s Platform are concerned about maintaining the separation between the City and the Charter Commission’s mandate to revise the Detroit City Charter.  We do not want the democratic process and the Charter Commissioners  elected by Detroiters undermined with the current COVID-19 crisis used as cover.

We will continue to monitor the City Charter Revision process and Detroit City Council.

“Attend” TODAY’s Detroit City Council Executive Sessions at 10 am and 1 pm on your phone or computer and give public comment

Visit the City Web Page for more details

Detroit City Council will be meeting virtually using a videoconference on Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. for Executive Sessions.

COVID-19 Housing Recommendations

DOWNLOAD AND PRINT: COVID-19 Policy Recommendations- Detroit People’s Platform

Detroit is a 53% majority renter city. The city residents must be protected during the COVID-19 health and economic crisis, and the aftermath. Low and median income Detroit renters and homeowners have been working hard to avoid displacement for years. Citizens have been able to hold onto their rental properties and maintain their homes with hard work and dedication. Now, they face losing their homes despite all their efforts. The money provided in the CARES Act must be thoughtfully distributed to meet urgent needs such as protecting housing for Detroit’s longtime residents who are likely to experience permanent displacement. Detroit People’s Platform(DPP) is offering the following recommendations centered in racial and economic equity with the aim of contributing to the Detroit’s future prosperity. We prioritize the importance of secure and quality housing for our low and median income families in achieving that goal.

HOUSING STABILITY

  • Rent Moratorium: Keep the majority of Detroit’s residents housed and protect and preserve the city’s affordable housing.
    ○  Renters who are cost burdened and/or unemployed or under-employed are not required to pay rent until 90 days after the end of the Michigan State of Emergency Declaration associated with the CODVI -19 pandemic.
    ○  Rent Payments will be issued directly to landlords by the city.
    ○  All tenant past due rent payments, penalties, and late fees for 2020 must be cancelled by the landlord in order to receive rental payments from the city.
  • Rent Payment Extension for 2020: Provide tenants time to recover financially to preserve their homes.
    ○  Tenants will have 6 months after the expiration of the MI State of Emergency Declaration to pay any past due rent, fees, or tenant debt owed to landlords.
    ○  Landlords may issue a written “Notice of Overdue Rent” once rent becomes 30 days past due.
    ○  Tenants and landlords must create a payment plan to outline the amount of past due rent that tenants can realistically repay along with a an agreed upon payment schedule.
    ○  If an eviction is initiated for a tenant that has signed a payment plan, the Tenant/Landlord Payment Plan signed by both parties must be reviewed prior to initiating eviction proceedings.
    ○  If a payment plan cannot be agreed upon, or the payment plan is not adhered to, tenants will retain the 6 month timeframe after the end of the Michigan State of Emergency Declaration to pay past due rents before landlords can begin the eviction process.
  • Housing Affordability: Property owners preserve affordability in rental housing properties in exchange for public financial assistance.
    ○  Rent is frozen at current rates for all tenancies until 120 days after the end of the Michigan State of Emergency Declaration. Rents may not be increased during lease renewals from now until 120 days after the end of the MI State of Emergency Declaration.
    ○  Landlords must maintain rent affordability for a period of 3 years after the Michigan State of Emergency Declaration has ended in order to participate in any city program or receive any funding that is related to the COVID-19 global health pandemic and the Michigan State of Emergency.
    ○  Landlords must agree to annual rent increases not to exceed the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Cost of Living Adjustment, whichever is less.
  • Utility Assistance: Preserve the health and safety of Detroit’s vulnerable residents by preserving Water, Gas, and Electrical services in homes.
    ○  All utilities will be paid for cost burdened renters from now until 90 days after the end of the Michigan State of Emergency Declaration. Cost burdened renters are renters paying 30% or more of their monthly income towards rent each month.
    ○  Utilities include water, electricity, and gas.
    ○  Payments will be made directly to utility companies at a negotiated rate that is lower full billed amount (in exchange for the savings generated by receiving all payments on time).
    ○  All past due utility debts for 2020 must be waived by the utility company.
    ○  Renters will not be assessed any administrative fees related to utility operations (shutoffs/reconnection fees, late fees, etc. until 90 days after the end of the MI State of Emergency).
  • Grants and Loans to Small Landlords for Property Maintenance: Provide landlords financial assistance to maintain their low and median income properties.
    ○  Small Landlords are defined as owning no more than 15 leased units total.
    ○  Provide grant and loan funding to low and median income landlords with rents that are affordable to residents earning 60% AMI or less. This funding must be used to cover the cost of emergency maintenance and to increase the accessibility of rental properties. Availability of grants vs. loan funding should be based on need.
    ○  Provide grant and loan funding for Property Tax Payment Assistance to low and median income landlords. Availability of grants vs. loan funding should be based on need.

COVID-19 ENVIRONMENTAL & HOUSING IMPACTS

  • Local Safe Housing Programs Expanded:
    ○ Funding to expand Bridging Neighborhoods Program to include communities throughout the city impacted by industrial development and operations. Programs will be available to all residents earning 60% AMI and below.
  • Increased Environmental Hazard Monitoring in High Risk Areas:
    ○ Funding to institute state of the art air quality monitoring for communities with poor air quality, high exposure to PM2 , or a history of disparate respiratory health outcomes.

Submitted by: Amina Kirk- Senior Legal & Policy Analyst
Detroit People’s Platform
April 20, 2020

Detroit’s Cash on Hand and Duggan’s Proposed Budget Cuts

The Mayor anticipates that the City will have a $358 Million Budget deficit spread between fiscal years 20 and 21. In order to offset this deficit he has proposed staff reductions, budget cuts, use of the rainy day fund, and re-prioritizing budget spending for next year to create $358 Million in savings. These cuts will have a disproportionate impact on some city workers.

The city’s cash position totals $468.8 Million!

Many city workers will take a 90% pay cut  while the Mayor’s top staff will only take a 5% cut.

Why is a $58 Million cut to city employees being proposed?

Recommendations for the Detroit Department of Transportation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Download the Policy Brief: COVID-19 Public Transit Budget Recommendations

April 20, 2020
Background and Summary:

The COVID-19 pandemic and national emergency is an unprecedented public health crisis that had severe impacts on essential bus riders in Detroit. As a result of the State of Michigan emergency executive orders issued by Governor Whitmer, the City of Detroit – Department of Transportation (DDOT) suspended bus fare collection and reduced bus frequency on all routes from 30 – 60 minutes. These decisions have public health, equity, and fiscal considerations that influence the City of Detroit Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget. The negative impacts on essential riders jeopardizes their individual and family’s ability to maintain an income, severely limits access to essential social services, access to groceries and pharmacies, and increases transportation costs for those who can afford mobility services such as Lyft and Uber. Reduced service, crowding at the bus stops and shelters further endanger public health in Detroit.

The City Council is projected to finalize and pass the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget in May 2020, and the Detroit Department of Transportation will continue to receive flat funding from all levels of government at nearly $140 million, including City of Detroit General Fund appropriations for $66,400,000 for FY 2020. According to the Mayor’s COVID-19 Budget Address, the suspension of bus fares is projected to add $55 million to a projected budget deficit of nearly $350 million.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Emergency Security Act (CARES Act) provides $25 billion for public transportation. Detroit will receive $133,892,582 in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Section 5307 Urbanized Formula Area grant funding for operational and capital expenses related to the COVID-19 losses due to bus service reductions. This grant funding could potentially fund the restoration of pre-COVID -19 crisis bus service levels. This funding will also permit transit agencies to purchase personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, and cleaners), reimburse revenue losses, such as the projected losses due to bus fare suspension, and administrative leave costs related to the reduction in bus services.

The following recommendations centers and addresses the severe negative impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on essential bus riders:

  • Immediately restore bus service to pre-COVID-19 schedules and frequency
  • Utilize CARES ACT FTA Section 5307 supplementary grant funding for bulk purchases of personal protective equipment for bus riders that must at least include face masks and gloves.
  • Utilize HR 1139 (Transportation Operator and Passenger Safety Act) proposed funding for bulk purchase of personal protective equipment for bus drivers
  • Appropriate at least $10 million, based on the November 2019 Detroit Department of Transportation Low Income Fare Analysis, to fund a post-COVID-19 universal reduced fare program for all DDOT passengers for 1 year.
  • Suspend bus fares for the duration of 2020

Sources:

American Public Transportation Association: https://www.apta.com/advocacy-legislation-policy/legislative-updates-alerts/updates/cares-act-provides-25-billion-for-public-transit/

City of Detroit COVID-19 Mayoral Budget Address: https://detroitmi.gov/sites/detroitmi.localhost/files/2020-04/4.14%20budget%20presentation%20final.pdf

Submitted by Detroit People’s Platform
and the Transit Justice Team

April 20, 2020