Kildee's legislation, which he plans to introduce today, would give the 18 states and Washington, D.C., that were promised funding under a foreclosure mitigation program the ability to spend up to 25% of that money on demolitions. Under the original interpretation of the program, which dates to 2010, the $7.6 billion in funding could not be used for razing buildings.
The legislation, which Kildee is sponsoring along with Republican Rep. Mike Turner of Dayton, Ohio, wouldn't change any of the existing allocations or spend more, it would only give states the flexibility to move up to 25% of their total awards into demolitions if they chose. The original program was intended to target programs that helped homeowners pay back taxes, make mortgage payments, or otherwise avoid foreclosures.Kildee and his approach to "shrinking cities" like Flint and Detroit is profiled extensively in Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City by Gordon Young. The book is forthcoming from the University of California Press in June.