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Detroit expands housing incentives to city employees

Detroit is expanding Project 14,a housing incentive program that initially targeted police officers, to all city employees.

It’s part of an effort to entice people to live where they work, and re-build Detroit’s population.

All Detroit city employees had to live in the city until state law overturned a residency requirement in 1999. That dealt a crushing blow to Detroit’s already-diminished tax base.

Now, Mayor Dave Bing is trying to re-build selected neighborhoods—by offering generous housing incentives for employees to move back in.

Bing says the latest sweetener is a one-million dollar donation from the Chase Bank foundation. It will help up to 70 people with down payment assistance.

“We are hopeful that this is the beginning, a resurgence of our public officials, from a public safety standpoint, moving back into our city.”

Bing hopes the housing programs can build a base to attract even more people to denser, more viable Detroit neighborhoods.

Police officer Tamar Banks wants in on the program. The native Detroiter has her eye on a vacant home in the city’s stately Boston-Edison district.

“I would drive up and down the street just to look at the houses. So being presented with this opportunity to live in the Boston-Edison district is like a “wow” moment. Because I’ve always wanted to live in the Boston Edison district.”

Program participants will be limited to vacant homes in selected neighborhoods targeted for revitalization through Project 14 or Bing’s Detroit Works project.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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