Today, the State of Michigan received some great news when it learned that the U.S. Treasury Department has awarded it $188 million in new blight removal funding – the most of any state in the country.
A great deal of the credit for this success goes to Kevin Elsenheimer and Mary Townley from Michigan State Housing Development Authority, who authored Michigan’s application, which was ranked higher than those of all other states that applied.
This new funding would not have been possible without the diverse coalition that came together in support of the Detroit-led effort to get Congressional approval for $2 billion in additional blight removal funding nationally. This group was led by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, and supported through the personal commitment of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, as well as key support from Rev. Jesse Jackson and others.
Though Detroit’s share of this new funding is yet to be determined, it is likely to be far greater than the $42 million recently awarded to the city out of the state’s $75 million share. This will allow us to increase our pace of demolition from 4,000 houses last year to 5,000 this year and 6,000 next year.
In the next few weeks, we also expect to receive federal approval to expand the Hardest Hit Fund zones where we can spend these funds so our blight removal efforts can reach into even more of our neighborhoods.