Bing: TARP money could be used to demolish abandoned homes

Bing: TARP money could be used to demolish abandoned homes

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DETROIT (WJBK) -

Some $100 million in federal funds could soon be flowing into the state to demolish vacant homes and Mayor Dave Bing says he hopes a large portion of that money will be funneled to fight blight in Detroit.

"I'm going to schedule another meeting going down to DC to talk to the secretary. He's been very supportive of Detroit and of this administration. So I'm hopeful that we can get some determination on when that money may actually come do as soon as I have a trip down there," Bing said.

The money was previously allocated for mortgage relief as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program or (TARP) which launched in 2010 to help unemployed homeowners stay in their houses and help families with underwater mortgages.

Only 19 percent of the state's allotted $500 million in (TARP) aid was spent on mortgage modification. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority applied to the U.S. Department of Treasury to direct $100 million of  the unused funds for the demolition work and there
 are now plans to knock down vacant homes in Pontiac, Flint, Grand Rapids, Saginaw and Detroit.

"I suggested that we were going to try to tear down about 10,000 through this term. We're at about 7,200, I've got a plan in place through the end of August that will get us to about 9,000. Additional money will help us exceed 10,000 and then we can be very strategic and focus on areas that are in most disrepair" Bing said.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated in 2010 there are 40,597 vacant residential units in Detroit and the federal funding is welcomed news to Motor City Blight Busters founder John George. "We've been working with the Blight Authority over the last 6 months to hammer out a plan that makes sense to make sure that the dollars are managed properly. Communication is truly king, between the mayor's office, the governor's office, the blight authority, blight busters and others including community groups that are going to feel the effects of these dollars," George said.
 
According to published reports, wrecking crews could start as soon as this summer working on houses deemed a public nuisance in some of the state's most blight-stricken cities.

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