Detroit Land Bank Authority Faces Tall Order

Jan 30, 2013

DLBA logo

The Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA) has a big job ahead of it. The quasi-governmental agency is being handed 7,900 homes that it will try to fix up and re-sell.

The houses didn’t sell at auction in 2012, so Wayne County is transferring ownership to the city of Detroit, which will then hand over responsibility to the DLBA. The agency will then work to renovate the houses and sell them as part of its efforts to revitalize neighborhoods and eliminate blight in Detroit.

The DLBA is being handed 7,900 homes that it will try to fix up and re-sell.
The DLBA is being handed 7,900 homes that it will try to fix up and re-sell.

The DLBA receives funding from the city and state, as well as the federal government’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The DLBA uses this money, along with other resources, to put families into newly-renovated houses that have been foreclosed and vacant. The agency hires local developers and contractors and has programs aimed at attracting Detroit police officers to live in the city.

The DLBA renovates homes with environmentally-friendly features and appliances.
The DLBA renovates homes with environmentally-friendly features and appliances.

Few people would disagree with the DLBA’s mission. What many people have a problem with is the cost. Because the homes are very old and in poor shape, the DLBA might spend $200,000 to $300,000 to renovate a house that could end up selling for $80,000. The DLBA notes that the houses are gutted and updated with environmentally-friendly features and appliances. Also, the agency argues that enticing people to move to these targeted neighborhoods increases the city’s tax base and brings in more potential customers for local businesses.

We want to know where you stand. Do you see this as short-term pain for long-term gain? Or do you think it’s a waste of money that could be better spent on other things? Let us know in the comments section below.

–Scott

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