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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Statewide blight elimination grants total more than $11.7 million

Media Contact: Misty Miller

September 6, 2016

LANSING, MICH. – The Michigan Homeowner Assistance Nonprofit Housing Corporation (MHA) working in collaboration with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority recently announced more than $11.7 million in blight elimination grants to 10 cities and counties across Michigan.

“This is a big opportunity for communities across the state to tackle blight and help homeowners,” MSHDA Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer said. “These funds can help local governments and partners stabilize their neighborhoods and improve property values.”

The funding comes from $188.1 million the state received from the U.S. Department of the Treasury under its Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) program in April to further stem the tide of foreclosure. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow led the effort with Senator Gary Peters and Congressman Dan Kildee to secure HHF funding in the 2015 end-of-year spending bill.

“This funding will provide momentum for communities across the state to continue their blight initiatives,” Stabenow said. “Eliminating blight is critical to reducing crime, revitalizing neighborhoods and spurring economic growth and job creation.”

Local units of government were invited to apply for the funding in June. Communities with a population of 50,000 or less were eligible to receive a minimum of $250,000 with a maximum award of $1 million and populations over 50,000 were eligible for $1 million to $5 million. When the applications closed in early August, 16 communities had applied for $24.2 million -- more than double the amount of available funding.

“There is a great need for this type of support at the local level,” said Mary Townley, MHA vice president and MSHDA Homeownership director. “No one received the full amount requested, but by carefully reviewing the grant applications we were able to make informed decisions that stretched the funding we had to allocate to do the most good.”

Below are the communities that received funding:

Calhoun County, $3,835,499
Calhoun County along with the Calhoun County Land Bank Authority are partnering to remove blight from residential structures that are depressing neighborhood property values. By involving local partners in the blight demolition, the communities will contribute to the outcome of the vacant land redevelopment.

City of Ecorse, $400,000
City of Ecorse in partnership with Wayne Metro CAA will target blight funds to assist in the stabilization of neighborhoods with high rates of foreclosure, and replace visual impediments along key corridors in the City of Ecorse.

Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission, $1,244,859.00
Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission and the Genesee County Land Bank are partnering to eliminate blighted properties within local communities. This will encourage prospective homeowners, as well as potential developers.

City of Ironwood, $240,000
City of Ironwood in partnership with Gogebic County Land Bank will target areas that have made significant public investment. By removing the blighted homes, adjacent property values should increase and create opportunities for redevelopment.

City of Ishpeming, $250,000
City of Ishpeming in partnership with the Marquette County Land Bank Authority is continuing their investment into the community by alleviating blight to improve neighborhoods. This will increase property values within the neighborhoods and encourage homeownership.

Kalamazoo County, $1,260,630
Kalamazoo County and the Kalamazoo County Land Bank will continue their efforts to make a dent in the blighted homes that are dragging down property values by the demolition of more properties to make room for adaptive reuse, redevelopment, and revitalization programs in targeted areas. 

City of Melvindale, $102,000
City of Melvindale and Wayne Metro CAA will continue their blight efforts to assist in the stabilization of property values in the City where foreclosures have had a major impact on values, and eliminate visual impediments in the outer neighborhoods of the City of Melvindale.

Muskegon County, $1,800,000
Muskegon County and the Muskegon County Land Bank are partnering to eliminate blight in both rural and urban areas of the County.  Targeted areas will include demolition that stabilizes existing neighborhoods, as well as those properties that are connected to economic development opportunities. 

City of River Rouge, $400,000
City of River Rouge and Wayne Metro CAA will continue their blight efforts to improve the goal of public safety, stabilization of neighborhoods with high rates of foreclosure, and provide future affordable housing opportunities within the City of River Rouge.

City of Saginaw, $2,220,790.00
City of Saginaw and the Saginaw County Land Bank will continue their partnership to remove blighted properties, therefore, assisting in property value stabilization and spur interest in redevelopment and repopulation of the region.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.*

*MSHDA's loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs. For more information, visit