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Trust to invest up to $30M in Detroit home rehab

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Detroit — The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust on Monday announced it will invest up to $30 million into a home repair program that will kick off with a pilot program in four city neighborhoods.

The effort is a partnership between civic and community organizations to rehabilitate up to 300 blighted single-family homes and properties.

Mayor Mike Duggan said the administration is asking Detroit’s City Council to transfer 25 properties to the trust for the initial block of homes. The trust, he said, will be responsible for rehabbing and selling the properties located within the city’s Bagley, Shultz, Crary/St. Mary’s and East English Village neighborhoods.

“When the first 25 are done, we’ll evaluate from there how the program is going,” Duggan told reporters during a news conference at the Northwest Activities Center. “If it’s going well, we’ll just keep expanding it from neighborhood to neighborhood.”

The project is among several programs launched in partnership with the city and land bank in recent months to repair the housing stock. In August, Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and the Home Depot announced an effort to provide fully renovated, move-in ready homes for the land bank’s auction website. Officials on Monday said that they’ve sold eight out of 10 homes under that program. Another 12 remain under construction.

The Housing Investment Trust is a fixed-income investment company that works to create sustainable neighborhoods with programs to acquire, repair and finance abandoned homes and properties in the Detroit Land Bank Authority’s inventory. They will use union labor and Detroiters for the program that’s expected to span the next three to five years.

Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust Eric W. Price said Monday that he views the program as the first investment of many in the city.

“We want to make this more than this program,” he said. “We want to preserve affordable housing throughout the city.”

Other partners in the program, officials said, include Michigan Building Trades, Jim Jenkins of Jenkins Construction, Building Detroit Futures and Southwest Housing Solutions.

Jim Jenkins, who has been a financial supporter of Duggan’s mayoral campaigns, says that the program provides an opportunity to create a neighborhood that will become a better place for families.

“We are going to raise the standard and the cost of these houses,” he said. “When we do that, we are going to make a difference and we are going to create jobs.”

Duggan said after the properties are transferred to the trust, the trust will pay for renovations. From there, the city will share in the profitability of a sale, or in any subsidy.

The council, he said, will also receive a request to use up to $900,000 in block grant funding for the effort — funding Duggan said would otherwise have been used for demolition.