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detroit land bank

asbestos warning sign
ktorbeck / Wikimedia Commons

A new audit this week says Michigan needs more inspectors and more money when it comes to asbestos remediation. According to the report, there are only four inspectors in the entire state to respond to complaints, issue violations and inspect landfills. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about why the program is falling behind. 

duggan with tapscott posing for cameras
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

In a ceremony at Detroit’s Northwest Activities Center on Wednesday, a small handful of Detroiters regained homes lost to property tax foreclosure.

The group of 60 was the second to complete the Detroit Land Bank’s “occupied buy-back” program. About 80 people completed the program last month.

The Detroit Land Bank now has close to 100,000 properties in its inventory, making it the largest property owner in the city. Around 4,000 of them are thought to be occupied.

A house for sale on the Detroit Land Bank's online auction site.
Detroit Land Bank Authority

A new incentive program hopes to entice more Detroit educators to live in the city.

The Detroit Land Bank sells former city-owned properties through an online auction.

Now, Detroit school employees who bid on those homes can receive a 50% discount on the final sale price.

Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District, wants more teachers who work in Detroit to live there too.

Mayor Mike Duggan handing Kiya Snapp the deed to her house after she completed the occupied buy back program
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Eighty Detroit families are regaining ownership of their homes, after nearly losing them to foreclosure.

This is the first group of families to complete the Detroit Land Bank’s “occupied buy back” program that sells Land Bank-owned homes to people rather than kick them out.

A home being demolished in Detroit.
City of Detroit / via Facebook

The Detroit Land Bank Authority will pay the state $5 million to settle complaints over how its demolition program handled invoices.

But Mayor Mike Duggan says the city will also get $5 million from the state in new demolition money.

“This gives us enough funding to go full speed ahead with the demolitions for the next year and a half,” Duggan said.

The city also reimbursed the state roughly $1.3 million for its investigation costs.

Duggan is satisfied with the deal.

Demolition
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The Detroit demolition scandal heats up after a federal grand jury issued a subpoena earlier this week.

The Detroit Land Bank Authority was tasked with handling vacant property demolitions after Mayor Mike Duggan took office in 2014.

Duggan says nobody from his office was questioned or subpoenaed.

“We have made sure that everybody at the Land Bank and Building Authority have given them all documents, and access to all people as quickly as possible,” he said.

Duggan says he and his office will continue to cooperate with federal investigators.

The Lee Plaza aprtment building in Detroit
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Detroit officials want to convert nearly 400 vacant public housing units to either low-income housing or development opportunities.

 

The $1.7 million deal would sell properties that are currently owned by the Detroit Housing Commission to the Detroit Building Authority and Detroit Land Bank Authority.

 

This deal includes the Lee Plaza and Woodland Apartments and over 125 single-family homes.

 

Arthur Jemison, director of the city’s Housing and Revitalization Department, says many of these properties are a drain on their neighborhoods.

 

Demolition
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit has approved a new contract with the same company that left 19 demolition sites unfinished for more than 8 months. That work was part of the city's blight removal program, which is currently under federal investigation.

A home being demolished in Detroit.
City of Detroit / via Facebook

The agency in charge of most of Detroit’s demolition program is hitting back at a recent city auditor general’s report.

That report, issued late last month, accused the Detroit Land Bank Authority of poor management and dubious practices.

The DLBA has run most of Detroit’s aggressive anti-blight program under Mayor Mike Duggan, helping demolish almost 11,000 structures during his term.

A demolition on Detroit's east side.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

A special report from Detroit’s auditor general says the city’s sweeping demolition program is still riddled with problems.

But the Detroit Land Bank Authority, the agency that runs program, calls that report “full of errors and misinformation.”

Courtesy of Michele Oberholtzer

The Next Idea

“Detroit's greatest paradox is its abundance of space and its scarcity of quality housing.”

That’s the opening salvo in writer Michele Oberholtzer’s opinion piece for Model D.

At one time, Detroit’s population was almost double what it is now. As people left, so did quality housing. That puts people still in the city at risk, Oberholtzer said.

“The housing is often under code, or not up to par,” she said. “And the moment that a person leaves the home that they live in, that property is subject to scrapping and blight.”

DetroitMI.gov

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says he wants to speed up the process of acquiring blighted homes through the Detroit Land Bank Authority, an agency under federal investigation.

The current city treasurer, David Szymanski, will step down from that role and move over to the land bank to lead a “litigation team” that will focus on seizing more blighted properties under nuisance abatement laws, Duggan said Thursday.

Under Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit has used federal anti-blight funds for an aggressive demolition campaign.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

We now know the contents of two federal subpoenas issued to the Detroit agencies running the city’s building demolitions program, but they don’t tell us much more than we already knew about an ongoing investigation.

The Detroit Land Bank and Building Authorities received the subpoenas in May.

They demanded the agencies turn over basically everything they have related to federally funded demolition contracts since the start of 2014.

Judge's gavel
Flickr user Joe Gratz / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

More details about the nature and scope of a criminal investigation into Detroit’s massive demolition program should come out in court next month.

That’s when a Wayne County judge has ruled that a federal subpoena for Detroit’s land bank will be unsealed.

Detroit has demolished more than 10,000 blighted homes under Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration.

The Detroit Land Bank Authority has done most of those demolitions, using almost $130 million in federal funds so far.

A home being demolished in Detroit.
City of Detroit / via Facebook

A federal investigation into Detroit’s demolition program under Mayor Mike Duggan seems to be picking up speed, and possibly widening in scope.

Federal agents visited the Detroit land bank Wednesday.

The land bank has used almost $130 million in federal money, originally allocated for foreclosure prevention, on demolitions as part of Duggan’s aggressive blight elimination campaign.

Detroit Land Bank Authority

The city of Detroit has announced yet another partnership to rehab blighted homes.

Now it’s with the AFL-CIO’s Housing Investment Trust, which uses labor pension fund money to finance a variety of housing projects.

Executive Vice President Eric Price says the HIT’s first priority is to get a good return on investment, and it now sees Detroit as a good bet.

via buildingdetroit.org

Detroit city workers, retirees and their immediate relatives could soon qualify for a 50% discount off the purchase price on some city homes.

The deal would apply to vacant homes auctioned off by the Detroit Land Bank Authority. That online auction has been one of Mayor Mike Duggan’s signature initiatives.

Tricycle Collective / via Facebook

People living in homes owned by the Detroit Land Bank Authority should get a chance to buy them back.

That’s the message from the Tricycle Collective, a group that’s been helping Detroit families facing tax foreclosure.

Vacant lot in Detroit.
University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment / Flickr

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss Gov. Rick Snyder’s Asia trip, the financial status of Michigan’s schools, and a new plan to sell Detroit land.


Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

More Detroiters living next to vacant lots will get a chance to buy them.

The city is ramping up a program to sell “side lots” to neighboring homeowners for just $100. The Detroit City Council recently transferred thousands of properties to the Detroit Land Bank Authority, which is running the program.

The land bank currently has a little more than 7000 properties in its inventory, says spokesman Craig Fahle.