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Tackling Blight

Vacant and abandoned properties are at the heart of Detroit’s challenges—and it is widely recognized that addressing this blight is a critical lynchpin in the city’s revitalization. Dilapidated housing is a persistent public health and safety hazard, draining city resources, eroding the tax base, putting residents at risk and creating a downward spiral of property values and neighborhood pride.

With an estimated 91,000 vacant lots and 78,000 abandoned buildings in Detroit, the scale of the problem requires a broad, coordinated and bold response. That is exactly what’s underway—and we’re using our resources and expertise to support this work.

What we are doing

J.P. Morgan Chase is committing $25 million

to support Detroit’s efforts to tackle residential blight.

We are working in partnership with organizations such as the Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA) and the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force to help them expand their reach and accelerate their ambitious efforts to end blight, restore properties to productive use, and stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods throughout the city. We also are supporting efforts to encourage homeownership, help first-time homebuyers and offer homeownership counseling. Our anti-blight investment is focused on:

Tackling blight

Strengthening the capacity of the Detroit Land Bank

Managing the acquisition and sale of the overwhelming volume of vacant and abandoned properties in Detroit is a complex task—made all the more challenging because many abandoned properties lack clear title, making acquisition and redevelopment difficult. Detroit’s leaders have tasked the DLBA with coordinating the city’s multi-agency blight mitigation effort and managing the city’s blight fund. It is a vital role—but also an enormous one.

We are providing the DLBA with $5 million and technical assistance to strengthen its organizational capacity and technology infrastructure to fulfill the organization’s role as the central hub for returning Detroit’s vacant, abandoned and foreclosed residential properties to productive use.

"Tackling Detroit’s blight issue is fundamental to our future economic growth and prosperity, and this won't happen with public resources alone. Private partnerships like the one we have forged with JPMorgan Chase are helping the Detroit Land Bank Authority deliver on its commitment to rebuild our neighborhoods."

Richard Weiner, Executive Director, Detroit Land Bank Authority

Supporting the Motor City Mapping Project

Tackling Detroit's vacancy and blight depends on having a comprehensive and up-to-date understanding of it, property by property. In 2013, the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force launched the Motor City Mapping Project, an ambitious effort to survey approximately 380,000 parcels in Detroit to catalog the specific number, location and type of blighted structures and parcels throughout the city.

$1 million of the investment will allow the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force and the DLBA to launch the People's Property Dashboard, which will provide the public with a transparent view of all parcels in the city and enable residents to update information about property in their neighborhood. This innovative program was created by a local small business, LOVELAND Technologies, and will create a platform where residents, community groups and city officials can work together to develop the plan to return blighted properties to productive use.

Helping homeowners through a rehab loan pilot program

Acquiring abandoned properties, clearing titles and finding buyers is only the first part of removing blight and revitalizing neighborhoods. The second part is the need to repair and refurbish those homes. However, many homebuyers lack the resources for those essential property improvements, while depressed property values make it difficult or impossible for buyers to access conventional home loans to finance improvements.

We are creating a $5 million loan loss reserve fund for Liberty Bank in Detroit to provide new rehab residential mortgage loans to families purchasing a home through the city's Neighbors Wanted property auction. Liberty's Home Restoration Program will offer flexible loan terms to give buyers the confidence they need while bidding, knowing they will have the ability to finance property repairs and improvements. The loans will be available first in the Boston Edison and East English Village neighborhoods and eventually throughout the DLBA's target neighborhoods, filling a critical gap to help homeowners improve their homes and turn the tide in key neighborhoods. Interested Detroit residents can learn more and determine eligibility by calling 313-873-3311 or visiting Liberty Bank's branch in Detroit at 9108 Woodward Avenue.

Supporting neighborhood nonprofits

"Dire conditions in many Detroit neighborhoods and the efforts to overcome them are creating unprecedented opportunity for creativity and partnership. JPMorgan Chase and other businesses can play a key role in building the capacity of the city's residents to help reduce blight, maintain and activate cleared lots, and plan for redevelopment."

Hector Hernandez, Executive Director, Southwest Economic Solutions

Alongside the efforts of the DLBA, the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force and other city-wide agencies and organizations, there are numerous smaller nonprofits and community organizations working to eliminate blight and improve their neighborhoods. With their hyper-local knowledge and insight, these neighborhood organizations are essential in Detroit’s efforts to tackle blight, and we are providing resources to help support them.

Southwest Solutions, for example, is the driving catalyst behind the Southwest neighborhood’s resurgence. Support from J.P. Morgan Chase will allow Southwest Solutions to expand its financial coaching and homeownership counseling programs, helping hundreds of Detroiters make smart investments in their future. Our investment also will enable Southwest Solutions to rehabilitate blighted properties — some of which will be received from the DLBA — and put properties back on the market to stabilize key neighborhoods.

We also are supporting a collaboration among Michigan Community Resources Community Development Advocates of Detroit to create an electronic system that will help community organizations working on blight removal better coordinate their activities. Additionally, the collaboration will help build the capacity of a targeted group of organizations with the potential to play a larger role in the city’s blight mitigation efforts.

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