Detroit faces uncertain future in bankruptcy
Updated: 2013-07-19 16:14
DETROIT - Some Detroit residents voiced skepticism on Thursday that the former US manufacturing powerhouse would emerge in better shape from its historic bankruptcy filing designed to fix the city's financial crisis.
Hours after learning Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history, residents spoke of the stark realities that come with living in a financially broken city.
"It was like putting a thumb in a dam," said Jodie Holmes, 55, as he leaned against an abandoned restaurant marked with graffiti, waiting for a bus to take him to his temporary job.
"I don't know if bankruptcy will help us or drop us to our knees," he added.
Detroit filed Chapter 9 bankruptcy in federal court on Thursday. The bankruptcy, if approved by a federal judge, would force Detroit's thousands of creditors into negotiations with the city's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, to resolve an estimated $18.5 billion in debt that has crippled Michigan's largest city.
Detroit was once synonymous with US manufacturing prowess. Its automotive giants switched production to planes, tanks and munitions during World War Two, earning the city the nickname of the "Arsenal of Democracy."
Now a third of Detroit's 700,000 residents live in poverty and about a fifth are unemployed.
"Maybe bankruptcy will help. I don't know," said lifelong Detroiter Damien Collins, 68, outside his east-side house surrounded by abandoned homes.
The retired autoworker said he had given up hope anything would bring back Detroit.
"Nothing else has worked, so why not try it?" he asked.