COVID-19 Update: Area Landlords Risk Losing $6.2M in Rent as Gen Z Moves Back Home, Lear Increases Face Mask Production, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
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map of Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge, as of June 11

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Area Landlords Risk Losing $6.2M in Rent as Gen Z Moves Back in with Parents
Rising unemployment across the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted millions of young adults to move back in with their parents. A new Zillow analysis shows potential rent lost from Gen Z alone could total an estimated $726 million, $6.2 million in the Detroit market, and the ripple effects of their next move could have far-reaching consequences for the housing market.

In the Detroit market 10.4 percent of Generation Z (between 18 and 25 years old) are renters who carry a potential of $6,208,775 in lost rent if 1.4 percent of them move back in with their parents for an extended stay, according to Zillow.

The number of adults living in a parent’s or grandparent’s home grew by more than 2.7 million in March and April, nearly triple the next-largest two-month increase from the past five years. A large majority of those who moved home are from Gen Z.

Those 2.2 million Gen Zers represent an estimated $726 million in rent payments nationally each month that could be lost if these moves prove to be more than a temporary measure. That represents about 1.4 percent of the rental market at risk. It is highly unlikely that all leases will be broken and this full amount goes unpaid, but it serves as a gauge of the potential impact on housing, Zillow says.

The next move this population makes could shape the housing market’s near future. If jobs quickly return to pre-pandemic levels, the housing status quo could return just as quickly as these renters return to the market. But if jobs are permanently lost or are slower to recover than expected, that could free up many rental units and drive down prices.

“The share of adults living with their parents has been high since the global financial crisis of the aughts,” says Skylar Olsen, senior principal economist at Zillow. “Then, it was Millennials flocking to the basements and spare bedrooms of their Baby Boomer parents, where many remained as rent burdens grew. Now, it’s Gen Z’s turn to ride out today’s crisis amid massive unemployment. But this time, rents are more likely to slow, easing the path to returning to living on their own even if some under-employment persists. Apartment construction has exceeded historic norms in recent years and some are likely to double up or live more affordably in all kinds of ways, which should soften rent growth, at least for now.”

Previous Zillow research has shown renters in some industries highly affected by coronavirus-related layoffs were struggling to keep their heads above water even before the pandemic began. It’s possible that many will appreciate the breathing room afforded by living with parents if allowed to stay rent-free, and stay even after their jobs return. That could allow some Gen Zers to save enough to move into homeownership more quickly, or perhaps even delay their parents from downsizing into a smaller home while a child is still living under their roof.

Young Americans move more often in general because they tend to have less stable employment and have not had time to accrue the same level of savings as older counterparts. Many also move home during the summer due to college schedules, typically bumping up the share of young adults living with parents by 2-3 percentage points from April to July.

It is likely that some college students made that move earlier this year as campuses closed due to COVID-19, contributing to the jump seen in April, but there were far more young people living with parents in April than even during a typical summer peak, indicating the usual seasonal shift was super-charged by soaring unemployment. Recently unemployed young people moved back home at roughly the same rate as usual – about 60 percent of them typically live with parents – but the pool is much bigger than ever.

Lear Adds Production to Pennsylvania Facility to Make 500,000 Face Masks per Week
Lear Corp., the Southfield-based automotive seating and e-systems supplier, says it has added new equipment to its operations in Pine Grove, Pa., to make up to 500,000 protective face masks per week.

The Pine Grove facility is among 10 Lear plants on three continents that now are producing masks for front line workers, local communities and company employees to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition to Pine Grove’s output, company employees currently are producing 600,000 masks at other global locations each week. Lear’s facility in Mocksville, N.C., also is making face shields, including about 60,000 units in April.

“Adding production capacity at our Pine Grove facility is the most recent action we have taken to use our available manufacturing and technology resources to quickly and effectively address the health care crisis worldwide,” says Ray Scott, president and CEO of Lear.

Employees at the Pine Grove facility completed training to operate the mask-making machines, while also practicing new health and safety protocols from Lear’s Safe Work Playbook, including wearing personal protective equipment, and following social distancing procedures.

“We are incredibly grateful to our team members at the Pine Grove facility for their efforts to produce these critical products for frontline heath care workers, and first responders as well as their fellow employees,” says Scott. “As the world combats this virus, we remain committed to making personal protective equipment, prioritizing the health and safety of our employees, and supporting the communities where we live and work.”

Michigan National Guard Expands Assistance for No-cost COVID-19 Testing
The Michigan National Guard is continuing its partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan State Police, and local health departments to offer COVID-19 testing this weekend in Wayne, Branch, Chippewa, Gratiot, Marquette, Muskegon, Newago, and Schoolcraft counties.

The Wayne County site is Ecorse High School (27225 W. Outer Dr.) on Saturday, June 13, and Sunday, June 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

These drive-through sites will be offering tests at no cost to the public both Saturday and Sunday. The site in Muskegon County (Oak Ridge Middle School at 251 S. Wolf Lake Rd.) will be operational Friday evening and Saturday. The site in Gratiot County (Alma Middle School at 1700 Pine Ave.) will be open Saturday only.

The Michigan National Guard has more than 45 trained testing teams ready to assist, of which 21 currently are assigned to support the community testing mission. These three-member teams include a certified medic to conduct the testing and two members to assist with paperwork, logistics, and non-medical tasks. All team members from the Michigan National Guard have tested negative for COVID-19 and have been following strict medical protocols to ensure health and safety and to protect Michigan communities.

Locations for the remaining test sites include:

  • Branch County, Branch County Fairgrounds, 262 S. Sprague St. in Coldwater. Saturday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday: Noon-4 p.m.
  • Chippewa County, Sault Area High School, 904 Marquette Ave. in Sault Ste. Marie. Saturday: 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday: Noon-4 p.m.
  • Marquette County, Berry Events Center, Northern Michigan University, 400 W. Fair Ave. in Marquette. Saturday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Newago County, Newago County Administration and Health Department, 1087 Newell St. in White Cloud. Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Schoolcraft County, Schoolcraft County Road Commission, 332 East Rd. in Manistique. Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

These drive-through testing sites will feature additional resources, such as information for those interested in joining the Michigan National Guard and resources for veterans.

“The Michigan National Guard is proud to provide this important service to communities across the state,” says Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Testing is a critical measure to mitigate risk as Michiganders get back to work; we are working hard alongside our state partners to make it safe and easy to get tested.”

BioGreen Michigan Gives Fleece & Thank You a Cleaner and Safer Workplace
Farmington Hills’ Fleece & Thank You, Michigan’s largest provider of comfort care to hospitalized children, has partnered with BioGreen Michigan to create a cleaner and safer workplace for its staff and volunteers.

“We are grateful to BioGreen Michigan for stepping up to assist us in providing our staff and volunteers a healthier, safer environment at no cost to our organization,” says Nicholas Kristock, co-founder and executive director of F&TY. “We’ve been proactively responsive to the dynamic environment we all face in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is just another action we are taking to improve our operations and increase our sanitation protocols to assure our hospital partners, the children receiving our blankets and their families have peace of mind.”

F&TY works with local groups to make no-sew fleece blankets with video messages, and then delivers them to hospitals. Its goal is a simple one: every child in every hospital bed receiving much needed hope in the form of a colorful, fleece blanket and a friendly face at the start of the treatment.

“BioGreen is proud to partner with Fleece & Thank You to help create a safer, healthier workplace environment,” says L.C. Smith, founder of BioGreen Protection Solutions. “Our goal is to provide the organization’s staff, volunteers, hospitals, and recipients of the blankets with some peace of mind knowing that after we treat the warehouse, 99.9 percent of harmful bacteria and viral threats have been effectively eliminated and future growth rates substantially reduced. It’s not a panacea, but it represents the best risk reduction process anywhere in the country.”

In the coming months, F&TY will be installing a new, industrial washing machine, dryer, and ozonation machine in another effort to meet the increase of infectious disease protocols at all of its hospital partners across Michigan to bring comfort back to kids in the hospital.

Higher Education
Lawrence Technological University has announced to students, faculty, and staff via email that it plans to bring students back to its campus for its Fall 2020 semester, which begins Aug. 24.

LTU President Virinder Moudgil says all decisions will be “based on guidance from health care professionals, feedback from faculty, staff, and students, and LTU’s leadership, along with recommendations from our Safety Committee.”

Although students will be back, Moudgil says, “We know that the campus and our activities will not look the same as they did last year. In-person classes will be augmented with online and more hybrid classes.”

Social distancing and hygiene measures will be put in place for all in-person classes. LTU already has a low 11:1 student-faculty ratio and is known for its small class sizes. Fall semester classes are scheduled to run through Dec. 11, but Moudgil says the university has decided that students won’t be returning to campus after Thanksgiving. At that point, all courses will be taught online for the remaining three weeks of the semester. In addition, all graduate programs for the Fall 2020 semester will be entirely online, “except for courses that require laboratories.” Additionally, the Fall 2020 Commencement ceremony has been moved to Saturday, Nov. 21.

In Related News: The Eastern Michigan University Center for Health Disparities Innovations and Studies in Ypsilanti will host a virtual town hall event Saturday titled “Empowering Communities in Responding to the Challenges with COVID-19.” The event will take place from 10-11:30 a.m.

Beginning with opening remarks from EMU’s president, James Smith, the event will include discussions focusing anti-Asian racism, economic impact, and community and mental health and the process of opening up the state of Michigan.

“Our mission as the Center for Health Disparities Innovation and Studies is to improve lives by reducing health disparities in underserved populations and communities through services, education, research, and training,” says Tsu-Yin Wu, professor and Ph.D. Nursing program director at EMU. “This virtual town hall is just one example of how we strive to provide resources to those in our communities that need them the most. We hope that you’ll join us for this educational and insightful conversation with some of our state’s most prominent experts.”

To tune into the Virtual Town Hall event, register here. For more information, or to submit questions to panelists, contact Meriam Caboral-Stevens at emu_chdis@emich.edu or 917-757-7646.

To learn more about the EMU Center for Health Disparities Innovations and Studies, visit here.

Bank of America Charitable Foundation Boosts Gleaners’ M.I.L.K. Movement
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has joined Gleaners Community Food Bank’s Making Investments in the Lives of Kids (M.I.L.K.) Movement as a presenting partner. The M.I.L.K. Movement, with special focus on school-age children, aims to provide kids with the nutritious food items they need, including fresh milk, to grow up healthy, happy, and hopeful.

Fresh milk is one of the most consistently requested items at food pantries throughout the five-county area Gleaners serves in southeast Michigan. Thanks to partnerships with the United Dairy Industry of Michigan and now Bank of America, the M.I.L.K. Movement is expanding access to fresh milk and makes it available to 55,000 additional households each month.

Milk is one of the most requested items by families in need but rarely is donated.

“This is a major step forward in our focus on ensuring kids get the nourishment they need in their most important growth years,” says Gerry Brisson, president and CEO of Gleaners Community Food Bank. “With a partner like Bank of America working with us to improve the lives of kids and their families, we can help give kids the nutritional foundation they need to learn, grow and thrive.”

Federal Government – EPA Orders Amazon and eBay to Stop Sale of Certain Pesticides
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Amazon Services and eBay Inc. to stop selling a wide range of unregistered, misbranded, or restricted-use pesticides, and pesticide devices that make false or misleading claims about their efficacy against the novel coronavirus.

“We remain vigilant against the claims of producers that falsely assert their efficacy and safety,” says Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the EPA. “Of particular concern are products that falsely claim to be effective against COVID-19. It is our duty to continue transparent communication with the public on unregistered products that may cause injury to consumers, and immediately remove them from commerce.”

Susan Bodine, assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance at the EPA, says, “American consumers need to know that the pesticide products they purchase online are effective and safe for their use. The orders we are issuing are two examples of EPA’s continuing commitment to stop unlawful sales of unregistered, mislabeled, and restricted-use pesticides on retail websites.”

In April, Wheeler conducted discussions with Amazon, eBay, and other e-marketplaces on the availability of products that are unregistered, are registered but may be used only by trained applicators, or that make unsubstantiated and potentially dangerous claims. Despite those discussions, Amazon and eBay have thus far failed to consistently keep unregistered, misbranded, or restricted-use pesticides, and pesticide devices off their websites.

None of the pesticides in the Amazon order are registered with EPA – which is a requirement for sale in the U.S. – and thus did not undergo a rigorous scientific process to ensure effectiveness and safety. Products that have been properly registered bear EPA-approved labeling evaluated to protect users by giving important information on safety and use.

In addition to unregistered pesticides, the eBay order includes pesticides classified for restricted use. It is unlawful to sell these types of products to the general public because they have the potential to cause injury to human health and the environment without additional restrictions.

In its orders, EPA also notes that the labeling of some of the unregistered or misbranded pesticides and pesticide devices includes the following violative statements:

  • “Kills COVID-19”
  • “Complete sterilization including the current pandemic virus”
  • “Coronavirus disinfectant”
  • “2020 Coronavirus Protection Coronavirus Protection Clearance Sale”
  • “A Powerful, Green, Non-Toxic Solution Proven to Inactivate our current viral strain”
  • “Epidemic Prevention”
  • “Efficient disinfection to prevent the spread of disease”
  • “Help keep your family and those you care for healthy”
  • “Nontoxic causes no permanent injuries”
  • “Ingredients are biodegradable and have no harmful impact on the environment”
  • “There is no damage to the environment”
  • “You can easily purify the living environment”
  • “Safe for all people using”
  • “Gentle to Child and Pets”
  • “Chemical Free”

A particularly egregious example of the products found on Amazon is a product containing chlorine dioxide. There are several versions of the product that keep appearing on the Amazon site each with very little to no English-language instructions. The products are being sold with unprovable claims of sanitizing and disinfecting hospitals, offices and homes.

Product listings on eBay.com included 55-gallon drums of methylene chloride that were marketed for use as a coronavirus disinfectant and paint stripper. Not only is methylene chloride unapproved for use against the novel coronavirus, under the Toxic Substances Control Act, EPA banned the retail sale of methylene chloride to consumers for paint removal purposes due to acute fatalities that resulted from exposure to the chemical.

Another product, Virus Shut Out, claimed to be a spatial disinfection card that would provide coronavirus protection to the wearer. Virus Shut Out was subject to previous enforcement by EPA. Yet another product, Xtreme-Bio, claimed to be exempt from EPA regulation and made entirely with “clean, green, safe, environmentally friendly ingredients” while also claiming to deactivate the virus causing COVID-19.

To view the Amazon Services stop sale order, visit here. To view the eBay visit here.

Turquoise Takeover: Six Ways to Support People with Lung Problems, Including COVID-19
The American Lung Association in Michigan is turning Detroit turquoise during the Lung Force Turquoise Takeover,  June 14-20, to raise awareness of lung cancer as well as other lung diseases, including COVID-19.

As a sign of hope, the Lung Association is encouraging residents and media to wear turquoise, the signature color of Lung Force.

“This week we are turning Detroit turquoise to raise awareness of the fact that anyone can get lung cancer, and no one deserves it,” says Maureen Rovas, executive director for the Lung Association. “We’re proud to stand with those facing the disease, particularly during these difficult times and raise funds to support new treatments and better methods of early detection so that we can save more lives.”

During Turquoise Takeover, the Lung Association is raising funds and awareness to end lung disease through multiple events and promotions:

  • Lung Force Virtual Walk: Sept. 25 through Oct. 4. Registration is free, but participants are encouraged to fundraise. More information can be found here.
  • Party with Plants: The Lung Association and Party’n with Plants are teaming up to support lung health and COVID-19 relief efforts through a fun online fundraiser. Participants will purchase a specialty kit and plant their own customizable terrarium tanks during a live online Facebook event on Wednesday, June 17 at 4 p.m. Twenty percent of all terrarium and fairy garden kit purchases will support the Lung Association. More information is available here.
  • Anne Koplik Jewelry: During Turquoise Takeover, Anne Koplik Jewelry is donating 20 percent of all purchases to the Lung Association. Visit here and select Lung Force Detroit at checkout.
  • CVS Pharmacy: From June 21 to July 18, people can donate a dollar or more when they checkout at a local CVS Pharmacy or online to help raise funds for COVID-19 awareness, education. and research.
  • Kendra Scott Jewelry: June 14-15, Kendra Scott Jewelry will donate 20 percent of all purchases made to Lung Force. Use code: GIVEBACK7939 at checkout here.
  • Paint-By-Numbers: Participants can create their own Lung Force masterpiece in this paint-by-numbers promotion. Find two Lung Force paintings at the Etsy shop @StephanieHenryArt. Twenty percent of these pieces purchased will benefit the Lung Association.

Money raised during Turquoise Takeover will fund the Lung Association’s efforts to end lung cancer and lung disease. It also will support the Lung Association’s COVID-19 Action Initiative, a $25 million investment to address COVID-19 and protect against future respiratory virus pandemics. The initiative works with public and private entities to increase research collaboration and develop new vaccines, detection tests and treatment therapies.

Judson Center Recognizes PTSD Awareness Month During June
Farmington Hills-based Judson Center, a multi-county human service agency providing autism programs, foster care, and adoption in tandem with its affiliate, Child Safe Michigan, is addressing the topic of PTSD during June’s PTSD awareness month in a new light in the wake of COVID-19.

Melissa Peters, Judson Center’s director of behavioral health services, says the center’s clinicians are attuned to the potential for PTSD-like symptoms among their patients as the nation comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The fear wrought by the pandemic is going to be with us for a while, and our behavioral health specialists will be on the lookout for signs of post-pandemic trauma,” Peters says. “The symptoms will vary, but we are already seeing some higher levels of anxiety, which will increase in degree for those who personally had COVID-19 or had one or more family members who died from the illness.”

Peters listed some of the signs of potential COVID-19 PTSD:

  • Avoidance entering work facilities, even with appropriate precautions in place.
  • Heightened fear of COVID-19 because of a personal connection to death or extreme illness of a loved one who had it.
  • Detaching from others.
  • Lack of trust in others out of fear that they are not following safety guidelines/protocols.
  • Having negative thoughts of the world or the work environment.
  • High level of stress/anxiety with integrating back to work
  • Experiencing emotional distress when thinking about leaving home.
  • For those that have experienced loss, added grief, sadness, and memories of the experience.
  • Flashback type fears associated with constant news coverage about the ravages of COVID-19.

“Polarized opinions on the seriousness of the pandemic can lead to a division among staff at any type of workplace and can fracture a team approach that may have previously been strong,” Peters says. “Every individual brings their personal experiences they bring to the workplace. For those in health care, it can be even more difficult in the era of COVID-19 because the field requires putting others first and leaving ‘our own stuff’ at the door.”

Getting ahead of the issue, Judson Center’s Behavioral Health supervisory team has been facilitating weekly virtual support groups during the pandemic for staff to address the new challenges therapists and healthc are workers in general may face.

Judson Center’s behavioral health programs in Warren are integrated with the organization’s primary care practice, Judson Center Family Health. Both will continue to offer virtual visit options even after Michigan’s full re-opening.

For more information, visit here.

Community Housing Network Hosts Virtual Run
Community Housing Network, a nonprofit organization providing housing resources and affordable housing support throughout Oakland and Macomb Counties, in hosting its first Virtual Run for a Cause. Throughout the month of July, participants can run, or walk, at their convenience to help raise funds for the work that CHN does throughout the year.

“We can’t come together right now, but we can work together to make a difference for the people we serve,” says Lisa Fuhr, special events manager at CHN. “You can choose your route, length, and walk or run at your convenience while helping us to continue to provide vital housing resources and affordable housing options to our communities.”

The event will run July 1 through July 31. Registration fee is $30 per person or $100 for families of 4 or more (within the same household) to participate. Everyone who registers as a participant will receive a finisher’s medal! For a step by step guide on how to get involved either as a participant or a corporate sponsor, visit here.

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