By Alexandra Pacurar
Detroit—The State of Michigan was awarded a whopping $188 million in this year’s final allocation phase of the Hardest Hit Fund initiative, the largest amount received by any state in the program. Kevin Elsenheimer and Mary Townley from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority created Michigan’s application which ranked higher than those of all other 19 states.
“This new funding would not have been possible without the diverse coalition that came together in support of the Detroit-led effort to get Congressional approval for $2 billion in additional blight removal funding nationally”, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement. Senator Debbie Stabenow, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and Reverend Jesse Jackson have all been involved in the process.
Mayor Duggan is confident that the share of funds for fighting blight in Detroit alone will likely exceed the $42 million awarded from the state’s Hardest Hit Funds allocations in February (first phase of this year’s funding round). “This will allow us to increase our pace of demolition from 4,000 houses last year to 5,000 this year and 6,000 next year”, Duggan said. Just recently, 33 homes in the city’s Delray community have been targeted for demolition over the next weeks.
California and Illinois came in second and third in the second phase of this round of funding with almost $170 million, respectively over $151 million. The total amount of $1 billion was divided between 13 of the 19 states that sent applications to the U.S Department of the Treasury.
Each state’s housing finance agency was required to submit an application that demonstrated an ongoing need for additional funding to prevent foreclosures and stabilize housing markets. In addition, HFAs needed to present a plan of action to address those needs and make full use of the funds by the end of 2020.
Georgia did not meet the criteria for additional funds, according to an official statement issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Nevada and South Carolina did not apply for the second phase of this year’s allocation round.
The Hardest Hit Fund was created in 2010 to provide assistance to 18 states and the District of Columbia, all highly affected by the economic and housing crisis. As of December 31 last year, the fund has assisted nearly a 250,000 homeowners and has helped remove more than 9,000 blighted properties. The Hardest Hit Fund allocations totaled $2 billion this year.
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