Detroit warming center official: ‘We are not panicking’

Wayne County halts foreclosures

Chad Audi | Ken Coleman photo

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the nation, one of America’s largest warming centers said that its services haven’t been compromised at this point. 

Chad Audi, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) president and CEO, on Monday remained optimistic. 

“We are not panicking,” Audi told the Advance. “So that is good.”

A statewide coronavirus hotline will be open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1-888-535-6136. Information can be found on the DHHS website or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention website.

DRMM is the nation’s 13th largest substance abuse treatment center in the United States. It serves more than 2,200 people each day. 

The center’s residential housing, outpatient treatment program, and warming center have continued without interruption. However, Audi said his staff members are cleaning and sanitizing more frequently than normal. All clients who arrive for food or shelter are having their temperature taken at point of entry. If they have temperatures above normal, they will be referred to the city of Detroit Health Department. 

“It could be a common cold,” Audi said. “If they report that and it’s just a common cold, we’ll bring them back.” 

Audi said that the coronavirus scare has resulted in increased safety mechanisms. 

Metro Detroit area rallies to address coronavirus 

“We’re doing more rounds of cleaning,” Audi added. “We used to do the cleaning of the bathroom every shift. Now, we do it every two hours. And we clean the surfaces constantly all day.”

State Reps. Isaac Robinson (D-Detroit) and Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac) were scheduled to host a teleconference on Monday evening with homeless activists, health care professionals and other social justice advocates to identify ways in which state government and other institutions can best help to meet the needs of affected people during the COVID-19 crises. 

“Tonight’s call is about giving a voice to those who work with housing justice,” Robinson said. 

Foreclosures halted

Wayne County won’t foreclose on any homes in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree said in a Monday news release.

“Given the fact that all taxpayers will be facing economic hardships in the coming months, I have made the decision to withhold all properties from the 2020 foreclosure petition,” Sabree said. “We will continue to work with our state, Wayne County and local officials to ensure decisions that are made will keep the health, safety, and financial stability of taxpayers in mind.”

Gov. signs legislation for struggling homeowners

In 2020, about 3,200 occupied homes — about 10,000 properties in total — likely were heading to foreclosure, the Detroit Free Press reports. There are 32,000 Detroit properties that are tax delinquent and about 8,300 are designated occupied and likely to be foreclosed, per the Free Press.

Sabree said that delinquent taxes still must be paid. 

“I advise taxpayers to make regular payments no matter how small and stay compliant with their payment plans. Interest will continue to accrue on the unpaid balance,” he said. 

Payments can be made online, at a DivDat kiosk, through U.S. mail, by phone or mobile app.

No DDOT buses Tuesday

Shortly after 8 a.m., the city of Detroit put out a statement that Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) buses wouldn’t run Tuesday amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Due to the driver shortage, there will be no DDOT bus service today. We apologize for the inconvenience and will provide updates as we can,” the city said in an email.

Susan J. Demas

That came after an email around 7:30 a.m. that fewer than 10% of DDOT buses were operating at that time. 

“We are asking passengers to seek other forms of transportation while we work to address our drivers’ concerns,” the city said. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.
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Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.