I hope this email finds you well. Below you’ll find information about our upcoming events, legislative updates, community updates and community resources.
Please do not hesitate to call my office at (855) 347-8003 or email SenSChang@senate.michigan.gov if you ever need assistance. As a reminder, we have our neighborhood service center open Monday through Friday at 11521 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck, MI 48212. Please call us at (313) 922-6949 to make an appointment.
Included in This Newsletter
- Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund (MIHAF)
- Upcoming Events
- Legislative Updates
- In the Community
- I-375 Letter
- Helpful Resources
Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund (MIHAF)
Today is the deadline to apply for support from the Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund (MIHAF). Are you a Michigan homeowner or do you know someone who has fallen behind on their mortgage, property taxes or other housing-related expenses due to income loss or increased expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic? You may be eligible for up to $25,000 in relief, but time and funds are running out. Apply today! For more information, click here.
Coffee and Conversation
WHEN: Friday, December 15, 2023 from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
WHERE: On the Rise Bakery, 5988 Rohns St, Detroit, MI 48213
Small Business Roundtable
WHEN: Tuesday, December 19, 2023 from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
WHERE: Chinese Community Center, 32585 Concord Drive, Madison Heights, MI 48071
Join me in Madison Heights for a Small Business Roundtable. This event will feature presentations on small business resources from the Michigan Small Business Development Center, 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative and the Madison Heights Hazel Park Chamber of Commerce. To RSVP please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Michigan has a large and growing immigrant population that should all have access to state government services regardless of ability to speak or understand English. Over 944,928 Michiganders 5 years old and over speak another language besides English at home. Whether it’s accessing public benefits or getting housing resources, every Michigander deserves to get the help they need from state departments and agencies in order to make sure their needs are met regardless of their ability to command the English language.
I am thrilled to see Governor Whitmer sign this piece of legislation into law which will help move Michigan forward and not leave immigrant communities behind. Thank you Representative Ranjeev Puri, Senator Mary Cavanagh, State Representative John Fitzgerald, Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, Rising Voices and the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation for your partnership on these important bills!
In the Community
Addressing Resident Safety Concerns Regarding Housing
This past week, State Representative Donavan McKinney, Detroit City Council President Mary Sheffield, Warren City Councilmember Angela Rogensues and I called for the property managers of Landmark Estates in Warren and the Jeffersonian in Detroit to address the many safety, maintenance and infrastructure issues at their properties.
In October, I sent letters expressing concerns to the respective property management companies after receiving multiple complaints from tenants regarding the condition of the properties. In response to these tenant complaints and the unsatisfactory responses and lack of action on the part of the property management companies, I am uplifting their residents’ concerns and calling on the property management companies to address the urgent issues raised by their tenants.
For three years, Landmark Estates residents have experienced persistent sewerage issues, roof issues originating from fallen trees and electrical outages from water leaking onto DTE circuit breakers. Residents have also feared retaliatory action from management after voicing their concerns.
In the last year, Jeffersonian residents have endured building maintenance issues, including cleanliness concerns around the property, and numerous safety concerns, including a recent shooting. Residents are advocating for the building to increase the number of maintenance staff, improve safety measures to prevent unauthorized visitors and install of security cameras in the parking structure. Currently, we are working alongside other Detroit officials to ensure residents are attended to in a timely manner. Detroiters and Warren residents deserve to live with a good quality of life in safe housing and we will all keep working to achieve that goal. You can read more about it here.
This week, I sent a letter to the Michigan Department of Transportation with concerns about the I-375 project that I have heard from residents at my recent town hall and through various communications we’ve received from neighbors. You can read my letter here. A summary of resident concerns that were shared with me can be found below.
- Land use: Many residents feel that the land use discussions in the city’s framework plan development should take place prior to the finalizing of the I-375 project design, so that the I-375 project design fits with what the city and residents determine to be the best vision for the community. Residents expressed concerns regarding the need for green space, drainage, tree canopy and climate justice. I have also heard questions and concerns regarding parking and affordability of housing and retail, depending on how the excess land will be utilized.
- Pedestrian safety and connectivity: Residents are concerned about the fact that the project proposes a nine-lane boulevard which may ultimately be harder to cross than the current overpass over the I-375 freeway. The I-375 Reconnecting Communities Project aims to address connectivity, yet the large number of lanes may lead to decreased connectivity and pedestrian safety. Residents also expressed a concern that the project is prioritizing drivers coming in from out of town into downtown over neighborhood residents who live closest to the project who will be driving, walking or biking across the boulevard.
- Honoring Black Bottom and Paradise Valley: Many residents have expressed their concerns about the lack of a clear plan to honor the history and descendants of Black Bottom and Paradise Valley. They would like to see the project and city framework plan involve more people who lived in Black Bottom and Paradise Valley and more social justice and restorative justice elements incorporated in a major way into the project.
- Business impact: Residents and small business owners are concerned about the project’s impact on businesses, during and after construction. They would like to see the project do more to ensure that businesses are not negatively impacted.
- Transportation modes: Many residents have pointed out that the plan feels very car-centric, without as much consideration for residents walking or biking across the boulevard and without any consideration for the need for more public transit.
- Traffic analysis: Residents are concerned about the outdated traffic data. I understand that another traffic analysis is being conducted. Residents hope that large downtown event traffic and game days traffic will be considered as well as access for emergency vehicles during construction. They also have pointed out that cars running red lights at high speeds is a growing issue across the city, including downtown.
- Noise: Residents expressed concern about the potential for high noise levels during construction, as well as the increased traffic noise levels that will result from the project as it brings vehicles from below-grade to an at-grade boulevard.
EGLE Invites Public Input on Implementing MI Healthy Climate Plan
The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is inviting Michigan residents to offer input on the implementation of the MI Healthy Climate Plan in preparation for federal funding.
Public Input Sought on Allowing Additional Hazardous Materials to Cross the Ambassador Bridge
MDOT conducted a study to better understand and evaluate the risks associated with transportation of hazardous materials on the Ambassador Bridge from Porter Street to Canada should any of the existing restrictions be changed. The Detroit International Bridge Co. has proposed the following changes: retain existing restrictions for Class 1 (explosives), Division 6.2 (infectious substances) and Class 7 (radioactive materials) from transport over the Ambassador Bridge and allow Class 3 (flammable liquids) and Class 8 (corrosive substances) to be transported over the Ambassador Bridge.
By following the above link you can find more information and review the report. In addition to the public comment period being held currently linked below, my office has requested an in-person public hearing on this important matter.
Public input is being sought on the proposed changes. Please submit public comments by Dec. 23 using the online comment form, by mail or e-mail to MDOT Public Involvement Specialist and Hearings Officer Monica Monsma at MonsmaM@Michigan.gov.
MDOT Environmental Services Section
425 West Ottawa St.
P.O. Box 30050
Lansing, MI 4890
EGLE Requesting Public Comment on Stellantis Proposed Consent Order
The public comment period will run from December 7, 2023 through January 23, 2024. Please follow this link to learn more and submit a comment: Proposed Consent Orders Open for Comment (state.mi.us).
AG Nessel Launches New Consumer Protection Website, Holiday Scams Campaign
- A new search tool to make finding consumer alerts and charities faster and easier;
- A page dedicated to common scams;
- The Michigan Identity Theft Support page and resources to detect and report identity theft for consumers and businesses; and
- Educational videos from Attorney General Nessel, the Federal Trade Commission and other trusted resources.
Michigan residents who follow the Department’s Instagram page and share at least five Instagram Stories will qualify for the drawing to win a $25 gift card. There is no purchase or entry fee required to win, and residents are not required to be present at a state office or event. The winner must be a resident of the state and their name will be randomly drawn from qualified users.
For more information, click here.