DETROIT - Thirty million dollars is coming to Detroit neighborhoods to fight blight, but that money won't be spent knocking down vacant houses. Every penny will be spent repairing and renovating properties and putting Detroiters to work.
"It's another good day for neighborhoods here in Detroit," said Mayor Mike Duggan.
Flanked by Detroit city officials and members of the labor union, Mayor Duggan talked about a partnership to tackle blighted homes in the city. Basically, the plan is to let the National Labor Union have them.
"They will responsible for rehabbing and selling. Split the pros and cons," said Duggan.
The AFL-CIO plans to invest millions in the rehab process, tackling 25 homes at first.
"We'll see how the first 25 go, and then they will continue up to 30 million dollars," said a spokesperson.
At first, the work will begin in the Bagely neighborhood, where most of the homes are actually in good, livable condition. There are a few eyesores. The mayor says if we could get a handle on those, then everybody's property value will go up, benefiting everyone.
So what's in it for the union? After all, they are investing the money and people to flip the houses. They tell us they are using it as an opportunity for train workers in a trade. The profit comes from interest on construction loans.
The real risk of selling the finished product rests on the bank's shoulders. Work will begin in the fall, and depending on how much these homes are sold for, may last up to five years.