Is Detroit's anti-blight movement losing momentum?

City says new campaign pushing online auctions will start soon


DETROIT – Nearly 120 vacant homes have been sold by the city of Detroit since Mayor Mike Duggan warned delinquent landlords to fix them, or lose them.

The first batch of seized homes in the Marygrove neighborhood is now up for auction, and the deal is made even sweeter for potential buyers with $25,000 forgivable mortgages from Talmer Bank. Buyers who rehab a home and stay in it for five years will have their entire debt forgiven.

But is the anti-blight movement losing momentum? Since June, there have been lower prices, but fewer bids. The initial buzz may be waning, seized properties may require too much work and rehab specialists may already be overbooked.

"It's disappointing, because it will just sit there. We need families in those homes," said Marygrove resident Dominique Mincey.

Neighbors told Local 4 they do consider the program a success, but want to keep it moving.

Duggan's chief of staff, Alexis Wiley, said they're not worried.

"We've seen the vast majority of our homes sold, so we're not concerned about the piece of it. We just want to make sure people know about the program, know they find an affordable home at BuildingDetroit.org and there are tools to help you rehab," she said.

The city is also planning on starting a new ad campaign to spread awareness.

To review houses that are up for auction in the Detroit Land Bank, visit BuildingDetroit.org.