Detroit incentivizes teachers, school employees to buy homes in the city

- The City of Detroit launched a new initiative to help revitalize neighborhoods by making it easier for teachers and school staffers to buy homes.

Two years ago, the mayor's office announced a program for city employees including police and fire, offering a 50 percent discount if they purchased a home in Detroit.

Now, that same program is being extended to Detroit teachers and all school employees.

"We thought about the fact that our employees and our retirees had really not been treated fairly in bankruptcy. We have pensioners who lost pension benefits. We had employees who lost healthcare, employees took pay cuts," Mayor Mike Duggan said.

The goal is to make the city more attractive to teachers and school employees, and to also build stronger communities.

"It allows us to go back to an age when our teachers were directly linked to our schools in the community, which builds a better relationship with our students," said Nikolai Vitti, Detroit Public Schools Community District superintendent.

The mayor says the program announced in 2015 has played a big part in getting more vacant homes occupied. He says 3,000 houses vacant four years ago are now occupied.

"We were contemplating moving out of the state," said Detroit firefighter Frank Polk.

Polk and his wife are new owners of a renovated home on Fullerton in the Russell Woods community.

"I'm very happy to know that the program opened up to teachers, to all city employees as well ... if you work in the city, maybe you should live in the city and that promotes how you feel about your community and your job," Polk said.

If you are a city employee looking to stay or move back in Detroit, all you have to do is go the city's land bank authority website to make a bid and verify your employment status.

For more information, visit buildingdetroit.org.

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