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Michigan cities may soon get more federal funding to fight blight

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan may soon apply for tens of millions of dollars in federal funding to tear down blighted homes.

Michigan U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters met with Congressman Dan Kildee in Flint today to discuss the transfer of $2 billion into the federal Hardest Hit Fund.

Peters says the evidence that this program works is “overwhelming”.

“Whenever you knock down blighted homes in a neighborhood, those property values stabilize. Those properties go up in value.  People move back into the neighborhood,” says Peters.  

Michigan cities have used more than $200 million in Hardest Hit funding to tear down thousands of blighted homes in recent years. 

Stabenow expects Michigan will receive a substantial part of the money in the next round as well. 

“Now I’m sure because of all of our energy, Michigan will be right there at the front of the line,” says Stabenow. 

$45 million in Hardest Hit funding has been spent on demolishing blighted homes in Flint and Saginaw. 

Flint Congressman Dan Kildee says tearing down blighted homes has more of an effect than you might expect.

“The measure that I use,” says Kildee, “what does it look like to a child standing on their front porch? Do they look at an abandoned house, or do they look at a community garden?”

In previous rounds, Michigan and Ohio received nearly half the money for blight removal divided among 18 states and the District of Columbia.   

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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