Detroit’s Blight Removal Program Receives Additional $42 Million

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The City of Detroit’s blight removal program is now able to expand into more neighborhoods as a result of an extra $42 million in funding approved by the U.S. Treasury and Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).

The city has been allocated a total of $170 million in federal blight removal, including this most recent round of funding. Detroit has so far used the funds to demolish more than 8,600 vacant buildings since January 2014. This year, the city plans to demolish 5,000 vacant structures and 6,000 next year, Mayor Mike Duggan said.

Because the MSHDA approved the funds, Detroit can expand its demolition program boundaries to include more neighborhoods in the city. The Detroit Land Bank had submitted a formal request on March 1 to MSHDA to expand the program to where federal Hardest Hit Funds (HHF) can be spent.

“We are so grateful to our partners at MSHDA and the US Treasury Department for their continued display of confidence in our city’s blight removal efforts,” Mayor Duggan said. “I am very proud of the work being done by our demolition team at the Land Bank and Detroit Building Authority.”

Detroit’s original federally-designated demolition zones were approved in 2013, and only 21 percent of Detroiters lived in neighborhoods eligible for federally funded demolition. However, since the program’s expansion, 90 percent of Detroiters now live in neighborhoods included under the federal plan.

The demolition program in Detroit is the largest in the nation, and the city expects to add more than 2,600 houses to its demolition list. With the ability to expand the program, the city plans to demolish 1,200 structures in neighborhoods where federal dollars previously weren’t allowed to be used.

Midwest neighborhood resident Gloria Sykes was pleased with the program’s expansion. “This is great news for our neighborhood and the families here,” she said. “I want to be out in the yard and enjoy life, but seeing blight all around you gets depressing. This will help us. We are excited to work with the Mayor on improving our neighborhood.”

Detroit’s demolition program is having a positive impact on the city. A 2015 report from Dynamo Metrics and Rock Ventures found that home demolitions have helped increase property values in Detroit neighborhoods. The valuation of homes within 500 feed of an HHF demolition increased an estimated 4.2 percent, or more than $209 million citywide.

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