Statement by Congressman Dan Kildee on Hardest Hit Funds for Michigan Blight Removal
Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) issued the following statement today after legislation was unveiled in the U.S. Senate that could potentially rescind federal dollars allocated through the Hardest Hit Fund, including money for demolition of blighted and abandoned homes in Flint, Saginaw, Detroit and other Michigan cities: “Once again Republicans in Congress have shown that they do not understand the unique challenges facing older, industrial cities like Flint, Saginaw and Detroit. “The logic in trying to rescind these funds does not make sense. While they claim that housing prices have ‘sufficiently recovered,’ this fails to comprehend the impact of the housing crisis on cities I represent. Come to Flint or Saginaw and the need is still clear. While we have made progress in stabilizing our housing market and removing thousands of vacant and abandoned homes, there is clearly more work to be done. “Republicans in Congress should not pull the rug out from under these hardest hit communities. Sadly cities like Flint, Saginaw and Detroit are once again being asked to shoulder the burden of bad public policy. The unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to demonstrate leadership and fix our roads in an equitable way should not punish older, industrial cities that continue to face many unique challenges in the new economy. “I’m working with Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters to protect the Hardest Hit Fund and stop Republicans in Congress who seek to halt additional demolitions with federal funds in Michigan.” The Hardest Hit Fund was designed – and is still working – to keep people in their homes and prevent additional foreclosures after the Great Recession. In recent years, thanks to Congressman Kildee’s efforts, the U.S. Treasury Department also rightfully determined that removing blight in communities helps to stabilize and strengthen neighborhoods, and much-needed federal funds – $175 million to date – have already been awarded to Michigan to get rid of large quantities of blight in cities like Flint, Saginaw and Detroit.