In an effort to solve the issue of blighted and dangerous properties across the state and reduce crime in neighborhoods, Gov. Rick Snyder last week announced that the U.S. Department of the Treasury granted $100 million under a pilot program that enables states to decide locally on actions that prevent foreclosures and support the housing recovery.
Known as the Hardest Hit Fund, the program focuses on 18 states—including Michigan—that suffered the most from the foreclosure crisis.
“This will be a major expansion of an ongoing effort by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and other state partners to aggressively address blight,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “We will be stabilizing neighborhoods with a large-scale demolition of the abandoned properties that foster crime and push down property values. Getting rid of these properties will encourage more people to stay in their homes and be part of the effort to improve their neighborhoods.”
The funds will be used to demolish vacant properties in the cities of Detroit, Pontiac, Flint, Grand Rapids and Saginaw, but it is still unclear how the money will be distributed among the cities—most probably the amounts will be determined based on vacancy rates, property values and number of foreclosures per city.
According to estimates from the 2010 census, Detroit alone has more than 40,000 vacant residential properties, while Flint has almost 5,800 and Grand Rapids has almost 3,000. The city is already on track to demolish 10,000 vacant and abandoned residential properties by the end of Mayor Dave Bing’s first term in 2013 as part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, with more than 7,000 structures demolished to date.
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Chart courtesy of www.detroitmi.gov