LANSING, MI – Gov. Rick Snyder announced on Friday, October 10, 2014, that Michigan’s plan to combat blight in 12 cities – ranging from Southeast Michigan to the Upper Peninsula – with $75 million in federal funding has been approved by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
The plan, created by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and approved by its board, will help Detroit, Ecorse, Highland Park, River Rouge, Inkster and Hamtramck in Wayne County, as well as Adrian, Ironwood, Jackson, Lansing, Muskegon Heights and Port Huron.
This latest achievement follows the 2013 kickoff of the largest residential blight removal effort in state history, when Snyder announced the first U.S. Treasury-approved program in the nation. It allowed MSHDA to use $100 million of its Hardest Hit Fund allocation for blight elimination in Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, Grand Rapids and Pontiac.
“Michigan blight elimination strategy has become a national model,” Snyder said. “For too long, blight has driven down property values and stifled growth in some of our communities. This additional funding will expand the positive efforts already taking root in cities across our state, and we appreciate the support of our federal partners. This allows us to lay the groundwork for future economic success and make Michigan an even better place to live, work and play.”
“This federal, state and local partnership demonstrates a commitment to revitalizing our cities and to addressing the damaging effects caused by vacant and blighted properties,” said U.S. Treasury Deputy Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin. “Removing blighted properties is an important step in stabilizing neighborhoods, and we look forward to continuing our efforts to assist hardest hit communities around the nation.”
The eligible cities for the Hardest Hit Funds were selected by MSHDA based on an evaluation system that included residential housing vacancy rates.
MSHDA is scheduling meetings with the selected cities this month to discuss the process for submitting strategic blight remediation plans, designating at-risk areas within city limits, estimating project costs and establishing a timeline for the work to proceed, among other considerations.
“Abandoned and blighted homes create significant safety concerns for citizens and businesses, depress home values and strain community resources,” MSHDA Acting-Executive Director Wayne Workman said. “Expanding this program will further stem the tide of foreclosures, stabilize property values and help revitalize these cities block by block.”
Michigan’s new $75 million anti-blight effort comes from the $498 million the state was allocated in 2010 as part of the Hardest Hit Fund Program, designed to help homeowners in states hardest hit by the housing crisis.
Through July 1, more than 22,000 Michigan families have received assistance since MSHDA launched the Step Forward Michigan program to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, stabilize Michigan’s housing market and improve the state’s economy.
MSHDA estimates that all of its remaining Step Forward Michigan funds may be allocated by June 2016