Courtesy: Governor Rick Snyder’s Office

LANSING – Gov. Rick Snyder announced that over $75 million in federal funding will be divided among 12 cities, including Detroit, to combat blight and continue driving Michigan’s economic revitalization.

The program, proposed by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), is funded under the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund program. In October, the U.S. Treasury approved MSHDA’s reallocation of $75 million to its blight elimination program.

“This is another important step in Michigan’s comeback, which has become a national example for what can be accomplished when federal, state and city partners work together with a shared vision to solve a problem,” Snyder said. “As a result of this collaboration, these cities will be better places to live, work, play and invest.”

The communities are:

  • Detroit, $50 million ($47.4 million in second-round funding combined with $2.6 million in reserves from the first round)
  • Lansing, $6 million
  • Jackson, $5.5 million
  • Highland Park, $5 million
  • Inkster, $2.25 million
  • Ecorse, $2.19 million
  • Muskegon Heights, $1.8 million
  • River Rouge, $1.3 million
  • Port Huron, $1 million
  • Hamtramck, $952,000
  • Ironwood, $675,000
  • Adrian, $375,000

“This 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 funding increases to $175 million the amount of Hardest Hit blight program dollars committed to Michigan for reducing foreclosure, stabilizing the housing market and improving the economy.  In 2013, Snyder kicked off the largest residential blight elimination effort in state history when he announced the nation’s first U.S. Treasury-approved program. It allowed MSHDA to use $100 million of its Hardest Hit Fund allocation for blight elimination in Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, Grand Rapids and Pontiac.

“Strategically allocating this additional funding will help extend the positive effect of our anti-blight efforts to new areas of the state,” said Wayne Workman, acting executive director of MSHDA. “It will further stem the tide of foreclosures, stabilize property values and help revitalize these communities. We are proud to play our part in laying the groundwork for future economic success.”

The eligible cities were chosen by MSHDA based on an evaluation system that included residential housing vacancy rates.

MSHDA met with the selected cities in October 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.

Each blight partner must spend 25 percent of all funds in the first six months, 70 percent of funds within 12 months, and 100 percent within 18 months.  U.S. Treasury requirements state that any remaining funds as of Dec. 31, 2017, must be returned to their office.

Michigan’s new $75 million anti-blight funding 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.