Black-owned Detroit companies get half of demolition funds

Associated Press

Detroit – About half of the first demolition funds awarded following a bond proposal approved by Detroit voters have gone to Black-owned businesses based in the city.

So far, the Detroit Demolition Department, which runs the city’s blight removal program, has awarded $70 million for the abatement and demolition of vacant houses and clearing out structures that will be secured for renovation and sale.

Only 10% of all contracts awarded have gone to companies not headquartered in Detroit, the city said this week.

Detroit has demolished about 19,000 vacant and abandoned houses since 2014, but most of that work was paid with federal funds which placed restrictions on how contracts were bid and where the structures being torn down were located.

“From the beginning, we’ve been serious about our commitment to contracting local, minority-owned companies with real ties to the communities we serve,” said LaJuan Counts, Demolition Department director.

“As we move through the pipeline, we’ll continue to eliminate some of the barriers and challenges these businesses historically face, allowing them to expand and hire even more Detroiters.”