GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Oct. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Grand Rapids-area leaders and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) today launched the largest residential cleanup effort in city history with the demolition of an abandoned house in a neighborhood hit hard by the foreclosure crisis.
MSHDA, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Treasury, Gov. Rick Snyder, the Kent County Land Bank, city officials and neighborhood groups, are heading the $2.5 million initiative that will demolish at least 100 vacant and foreclosed Grand Rapids residential properties.
"This large-scale Fresh Start Demolition Program will help revitalize neighborhoods in Grand Rapids and other Michigan cities by eliminating abandoned homes," the governor said. "Tearing down the eyesore properties will reduce crime and increase property values. That will encourage the people who live in these neighborhoods to stay in their homes and be part of the recovery of their communities."
MSHDA Executive Director Scott Woosley, Grand Rapids City Commissioner Rosalynn Bliss, Kent County Treasurer and Land Bank Authority Board Chair Ken Parrish, Consumers Energy Vice President of Energy Operations Michele Kirkland, and other local and state officials today kicked off the Fresh Start program by demolishing an abandoned, burnt out house near Franklin and Eastern streets.
"MSHDA could not have moved forward on this Fresh Start initiative without the governor's strong leadership and support from our federal, state and local partners. By working together at the ground level, we will reverse the challenges caused by abandoned homes," Woosley said.
Grand Rapids' funding comes as part of the $100 million MSHDA was allocated 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.
"The goal of the demolition campaign is to turn chronically problem properties into development opportunities," said Parrish. "Cleaning up these abandoned homes keeps our neighborhoods moving in the right direction."
The first-in-the-nation campaign will focus efforts on decreasing foreclosures and stabilizing neighborhoods by eliminating some of the more than 78,000 vacant and abandoned single-family and multi-family properties in Detroit as well as Grand Rapids, Flint, Pontiac and Saginaw.
"Consumers Energy is pleased to be a part of this civic, private and public partnership to restore new energy and vibrancy in Grand Rapids neighborhoods and create a better living environment for residents," Kirkland said. "We are doing our part to make this program successful by retiring, at no cost, the electric services leading to each of the homes to be torn down."
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 www.michigan.gov/mshda.
SOURCE Michigan State Housing Development Authority