Detroit’s Blight Removal Program Hits Major Milestone

The program aimed at reviving the city’s neighborhoods translates into an average of 75 houses demolished each week.
Demolition Tracker Map

Demolition Tracker Map

Detroit—Motor City is seeing the largest and fastest blight removal program in the country. Since its debut in 2014, the initiative led to the demolition of 10,000 vacant buildings—meaning an average of 75 abandoned homes being razed each week.

These numbers make Detroit a leader when it comes to the scale of all blight removal programs in the U.S. “We have made real progress in the past 2½ years and improved the quality of life for residents in a lot of neighborhoods, but we still have lots of work to do. But 10,000 demolitions is a great start, and we are not going to let up one bit,” Mayor of Detroit Mike Duggan said in a prepared statement.

If operations continue at the same pace and with the same level of funding, the City of Detroit estimates that the task will be fully completed in about six years. Projections for this year include 5,000 blighted structures, with 6,000 planned to be razed next year. In 2015, Motor City demolished 4,000 houses. The program also includes commercial properties, with 150 targeted for demolition this year.

In 2013, when the first federal funds were granted for these measures, only 21 percent of Detroiters lived in neighborhoods eligible for such allocations compared to 90 percent in the present. So far, more than $250 million has been directed by the U.S. Treasury Department and Michigan State Housing Development Authority for this purpose.

As a result of the blight removal program and through property auctions and community partner sales, more than 1,400 properties were renovated and 4,600 vacant lots have been sold to neighbors and put back to use.

The evolution of the blight removal program in Detroit can be observed step by step on the online Demolition Tracker, an interactive map that was recently launched by the city.