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Michigan to receive $188M for blight removal efforts

Jarrad Henderson
Detroit Free Press

 Michigan will receive $188.1 million in additional federal money to aid the removal of blight in neighborhood around the state, members of Michigan's Congressional delegation announced Wednesday.

The money comes from the Hardest Hit Fund, a program that was originally intended to help people facing foreclosure stay in their homes. But that money has since been steered into blight removal. With the addition of the funds announced today, Michigan has now received more than $262 million from the fund this year.

In 2015, Congress approved spending $2 billion across the nation to aid blight removal programs. The program has funded removal efforts in predominately in Detroit and Flint.

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, and U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, touted the fund as a means to economic growth and revitalization in the state.

“Michigan has been a national model for blight removal, which is making neighborhoods safe and spurring economic growth,” Stabenow said in a press release.

Kildee echoed Stabenow’s sentiments.

“Removing blight raises property values for surrounding homeowners, decreases violent crime, and unlocks greater opportunity for all families,” Kildee said in a press release.

The city of Detroit is at the center of the blight problem in Michigan, with tens of thousands of structures in need of destruction or intervention as a result of blight. A study found that since Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan began efforts to remove these blighted properties in 2014, home values in the surrounding areas grew 4.2%.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan welcomed the news. “This will allow us to increase our pace of demolition from 4,000 houses last year to 5,000 this year and 6,000 next year,” Duggansaid in a statement, adding he expects to expand demolition efforts to more parts of the city.

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