Woman denied FEMA funding despite repeated flooding at Detroit home

Many residents have experienced flooded basements this summer

Woman denied FEMA funding despite repeated flooding at Detroit home
Woman denied FEMA funding despite repeated flooding at Detroit home

DETROIT – A homeowner wants answers from FEMA. Her Detroit home has flooded at least four times since the summer, yet she continues to be denied Federal Funding.

“I have been denied twice,” said Loretta Powell.

Powell said there have been two claims and two denial letters from FEMA. Her basement on Montclair Street on Detroit’s east side flooded several times this summer. The first time was in June. Local 4 interviewed her multiple times about her flooding issues and she said water is still leaking into her basement.

Read: Residents frustrated with constant water in basements in Detroit, St. Clair Shores

“Before the second appeal, I asked the man if I could send him the pictures that I took of the basement. I also wanted to submit the pictures that I showed you on the news and he said I didn’t need the pictures,” said Powell.

Powell showed Local 4 her recent FEMA denial letter from Sept 2. It said “FEMA has determined you’re not eligible for personal property assistance because the damage to your personal property did not qualify for repairs.”

But Powell said that’s far from the truth. She lost her water heater, washer and dryer and furnace.

“Right now, I need a furnace because it’s cold outside. The heater is not working because it’s contaminated. So if I turn it on, all of that is going to blow upstairs in my house,” Powell said.

And now, she’s hoping the third time is a charm.

“I’m going to encourage them to submit my pictures, because when they see the pictures, that tells it all,” said Powell.

FEMA released the following statement:

“If a survivor is found ineligible for FEMA’s Individual Assistance program, they will receive a determination letter from FEMA that will state the specific reason. Without providing additional information or documentation, the application cannot be processed. Common reasons a survivor would be considered ineligible without submitting additional information to FEMA include:

  • A residence is insured, or a survivor has not submitted denial or exclusions of the insurance policy to FEMA
  • A survivor reported no home damage when registering
  • An inspector has found the home is safe to occupy, or damage is limited to non-essential space within the home such as unoccupied bedrooms or the basement
  • A survivor has not provided proof of occupancy or verification of identity

It is important to note that FEMA’s Individual Assistance program is not an insurance program. FEMA grants are limited to ensuring the home is safe, secure and functional.

FEMA is unable to discuss an individual’s specific case with a third party. However, we would encourage disaster survivors to visit a Disaster Recovery Center or call 800-621-3362 if they have questions about what may be needed to file an appeal.”

Read: More Metro Detroit flooding coverage


About the Author:

Larry Spruill Jr. joined the Local 4 News team in January 2018. Prior, he worked at WJAX in Jacksonville, Florida. Larry grew up as a military kid because his father is a retired Chief of the United States Air Force.