Michigan State, Local Agencies Start Massive Demolition Initiative

Michigan's call to rebuild. Source: Fotolia

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority has started the first phase of a blight eradication effort that targets single-family and multifamily properties in Detroit, Saginaw, Flint, Grand Rapids and Pontiac.

This first-in-the-nation campaign resulted from a partnership between MSHDA, the state of Michigan, the U.S. Department of Treasury, local land banks and other local-based organizations.

Funding is part of the $100 million the U.S. Treasury allocated to MSHDA in July 2013 through the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program's Hardest Hit Fund, designed to help homeowners in states hit hardest by the housing crisis.

During this phase $11.2 million will be used to demolish more than 950 vacant and foreclosed residential properties in Saginaw and $20.1 million to demolish 1,600 properties in Genesee.

The Saginaw County Land Bank and the Genesee County Land Bank will help complete the acquisition of these vacant foreclosed or bank-owned properties.

"Cleaning up the blight and abandonment is the first step toward neighborhood revitalization," said Saginaw Mayor Pro Tem Dennis Browning. In Saginaw the "Blight Blitz" initiative will demolish approximately 50% of the city's 1,800 abandoned homes.

In the Flint-area demolitions will take place in batches of 50 to 100 properties, according to MSHDA. The goal is to clear approximately 25% of the city's 5,600 abandoned homes.

"This large-scale demolition program will strike at the blight that is harming neighborhoods in Saginaw and other Michigan cities," stated Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in a press release. “Tearing down these abandoned properties will reduce crime and increase property values.”

MSHDA, federal, state and local partners are “working together at the ground level,” says Scott Woosley, MSHDA executive director.