The Genesee County Land Bank announced today that it is on track to demolish 1,786 vacant and dilapidated houses by June 30 under the largest blight-elimination program ever undertaken in Flint.
Using a $22.7 million Hardest Hit Fund grant from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, the Land Bank has demolished 1,667 structures to date and will take down an additional 119 eyesores by the end of this month.
“We congratulate the Genesee County Land Bank and the City of Flint for the impressive progress made toward reinventing the city under this blight-removal program,” said MSHDA Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer. “The project is a sterling example of federal, state and local governments working together for the public good.”
The Flint area will be the first of the five communities in Michigan awarded a combined total of $100 million in Hardest Hit Fund dollars to complete its demolitions under the program. The other communities awarded Hardest Hit Funds were Detroit, Grand Rapids, Pontiac and Saginaw.
In October 2013, MSHDA awarded the GCLB $20.1 million in Hardest Hit funds to demolish, green and maintain vacant and blighted properties in public ownership. The GCLB received an additional $2.6 million to carry out blight elimination activities on blighted and publicly owned properties in the Civic Park Neighborhood.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund, part of the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), is designed to help homeowners in states hit hardest by the housing crisis. Last year, Michigan designated $100 million of its Hardest Hit Fund allocation for blight elimination activities in an effort to further prevent foreclosures and stabilize neighborhoods.
“The Hardest Hit Fund has enabled the Land Bank to make the single-largest investment in blight elimination that this community has seen yet,” said Deborah Cherry, Genesee County treasurer and chairperson of the Genesee County Land Bank. “Removing the worst houses on the block helps to stabilize neighborhoods, reduce crime and create opportunities for new investment.”
More information about the Land Bank’s Hardest Hit program can be found at http://www.thelandbank.org/blightfree.asp