Michigan Daily: Michigan to receive $188.1 million from Hardest Hit Fund

Along with U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D–Flint), Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D) and Gary Peters (D) announced that Michigan will receive $188.1 million from the Hardest Hit Fund to go towards blight removal during a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning.

The Hardest Hit Fund — created in 2010 — allocates funding to states to aid struggling homeowners and avoid instances of foreclosure. During budget negotiations last year, Stabenow, Peters and Kildee championed a total of $2 billion to be allocated to the overall fund. According to Stabenow, without this addition the fund would have run dry this spring.

Peters said he is happy to see the project come to fruition.

“This is something we all worked very aggressively to make a reality in the appropriations bill last year. The fact that Michigan is receiving the most money in a very competitive program speaks volumes for quality of the programs that are being conducted in our state.”

The state previously received $74.49 million in February in the first round of funding through Hardest Hit. The first round allocated resources based on a developed formula, which analyzes properties such as population size to determine the amount each state receives.

The second round— in which Michigan received the highest amount of any state — distributed funds based on a competition which looked at different proposals created by the states on how the funds would be used within the state.

Stabenow said the funding will largely go to Detroit and Flint, but also to other communities across the state for blight removal and demolition of abandoned properties.

The $188.1 million will be used in Michigan primarily for blight removal, but communities can apply to use the money for alternative purposes. Within the state, individual communities can apply to receive funding by submitting proposals detailing how the money would be used.

“This will go to the great efforts in Detroit and Flint and other communities across the state,” she said. “There’s no question that what’s being done in Detroit is incredibly effective, and in Flint there is no question that there are challenges with what is being done with the water, but we also know that they have been able to put on terrific leadership on neighborhood revitalization.”

Stabenow said she anticipates the process for application and allocation for other communities to occur within the next six to eight weeks.

Kildee said the greatest impact of the funding is its ability to help members of struggling communities.

“As significant as these financial resources are, it’s what they mean on the ground to the communities that will be helped that is most significant,” he said. “This money will give cities, will give neighborhoods, will give individuals who live in those neighborhoods a different look at their neighborhood. They will get a shot at a better life.”

By:  Lydia Murray
Source: Michigan Daily