Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Flint Foreclosures and Federal Funds

More than $223 million in federal money is headed to Flint and other Michigan cities to deal with abandoned property. Greta Guest of The Detroit Free Press reports:
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan made the announcement today at Detroit’s Butzel Family Center, along with Gov. Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.

The money will be used to acquire thousands of foreclosed, abandoned and blighted properties in targeted areas throughout Michigan, which had the eighth highest foreclosure rate in the nation last year. About 1,500 would be rehabilitated, 2,500 demolished and 4,650 placed in land banks, which erase liens on property to compile land for future development.

Go here so see where the funds will be spent in Flint.

The money arrives at a time when a record number of Genesee County residents are likely to lose their homes to foreclosure.

Ron Fonger of The Flint Journal reports:

Although the majority of property owners who are delinquent in their tax bills at this time of year end up paying before March 31 rather than losing their properties, officials are nervous about this year because of continuing high unemployment and weakness in the local economy.

"That's more properties to maintain," said Doug Weiland, executive director of the county Land Bank. Increasingly, properties lost for back taxes aren't vacant land but are home to run-down houses, increasing the expense of keeping buildings secure until there is money for rehabilitation or demolition.

What's worse, Weiland said there are no signs that this will be the last year with so many potential foreclosures. In Flint alone, there are about 10,000 vacant homes, he said, most of which remain in private hands. "My guess is about 6,000 of those properties have been abandoned, then people stop paying taxes," and the parcels end up in the county's hands, Weiland said.

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Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at