Detroit Begins Large Blight Elimination Program

Detroit Begins Large Blight Elimination Program

08/27/2013 BY: ESTHER CHO

As Detroit geared up for the kick-off of the Blight Elimination Program, Mary Miller, Treasury’s undersecretary for domestic finance, offered words of encouragement attendees at the event Monday.

“While Detroit’s financial challenges are serious, I believe that the strength  and resilience of Detroit’s residents will foster a recovery that preserves Detroit’s status as one of America’s greatest cities,” Miller stated at the event hosted by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).

The effort to do away with residential blight is the largest in Michigan’s history, according to a release from the Michigan governor’s office.

To fight blight, Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund allocated $100 million to MSHDA. Detroit will receive $52.3 million in assistance, while the remaining funds will be split in different amounts between four other Michigan cities: Flint, Grand Rapids, Pontiac, and Saginaw.

Miller stated Detroit holds about “78,000 vacant and abandoned homes that depress surrounding home values, pose public safety risks and strain city resources.”

“But the Blight Elimination Program, combined with Mayor Bing’s own aggressive demolition plan, are a powerful example of what can be achieved when federal, state, and city leaders join forces and align their investments to tackle a problem with scale,” she added.

MSHDA expects at least 7,000 blighted properties to be demolished throughout the participating cities as part of the program, with Detroit seeing the elimination of about 4,000 blighted structures.

“Treasury applauds Michigan’s hard work and creativity that led to $100 million dollars in Hardest Hit Funds being dedicated to the Blight Elimination Program that seeks to prevent foreclosures by addressing blight in a way that has never been done before,” Miller said.

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