Senators Stabenow, Peters and Congressman Kildee Announce Hard-Fought Victory to Continue Blight Removal Efforts Across Michigan

Michigan Eligible for up to $323.49 Million to Revitalize Cities, Neighborhoods

Friday, February 19, 2016

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI), today announced that the U.S. Department of Treasury will begin distributing new Hardest Hit Funds to Michigan in the coming months. Michigan will receive $74.49 million immediately from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund and is eligible to receive up to an additional $249 million this April to continue the revitalization of neighborhoods across the state.

The Hardest Hit Fund gives resources to states to invest in blight removal efforts and help struggling homeowners. Late last year, Sens. Stabenow, Peters and Rep. Kildee led a major effort to give the Treasury Department the flexibility to transfer $2 billion to the Hardest Hit Fund, which would have run out of funding this spring. Since 2010, 16 communities across Michigan- including Detroit, Adrian, Ecorse, Flint, Grand Rapids, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Inkster, Ironwood, Jackson, Lansing, Muskegon Heights, Pontiac, Port Huron, River Rouge, and Saginaw– have utilized $440.8 million from the fund to provide homeowner assistance, remove blight, and support other efforts to revitalize neighborhoods.                                                                                                                                                      

“It was a hard-fought battle to secure this new funding which is a big win for Michigan cities and communities,” said Senator Stabenow. “Blight removal is making a real difference by making neighborhoods safe and spurring economic growth.  Thousands of blighted properties have already been demolished and this funding will keep this momentum going.”

“Blight removal is critical to the resurgence of cities across Michigan,” said Senator Peters. “I was pleased to work with Senator Stabenow and Congressman Kildee to secure these resources, which will build on efforts to improve safety and property values in our communities and attract new investments that will help these neighborhoods continue to recover and grow.”

“Millions of dollars in additional federal funds will make a huge difference in removing blight across Michigan, including in Flint and Saginaw,” Congressman Kildee said. “Getting rid of blight will help to raise property values, decrease crime and unlock greater opportunity for all homeowners. Getting this money for Michigan has been one of my top priorities in Congress so that our cities and towns have the resources necessary to tear down the remnants of the past and give us a chance to restart.”

The Treasury Department will be distributing the $2 billion Sens. Stabenow, Peters and Rep. Kildee helped secure in two separate parts. The first $1 billion will automatically be allocated to 18 states and the District of Columbia based on population size, need and how much previous Hardest Hit Funds have been drawn down. Based on this criteria, Michigan will receive $74.49 million.

The next $1 billion will be distributed to eligible states through a competitive application process. The Treasury Department will take into account whether states have a proven track record of efficiently using Hardest Hit Funds and the immediate need for additional funding. A state will not be able to apply for more than either $250 million or half of the money they have already received from the Fund. Because Michigan is a national model of how to successfully turn Hardest Hit Fund dollars into demolitions, the state is in a strong position to receive a significant amount of funds through this competitive process. Applications for all states will be due to the Treasury Department in March with funding announcements to be made in April.