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Michigan lawmakers back bill aiming to help low-income neighborhoods

Restoring Communities Left Behind Act sets money aside for neighborhood revitalization, tax relief, more

Several members of Michigan's congressional delegation are backing a bill that would help neighborhoods rebound from the current financial crisis.
Several members of Michigan's congressional delegation are backing a bill that would help neighborhoods rebound from the current financial crisis.

Several members of Michigan’s congressional delegation are backing a bill that would help neighborhoods rebound from the current financial crisis.

The bill, introduced Thursday by Rep. Marcy Kaptur and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, is large and sweeping. It would be one of the largest bills aimed at fixing blight and keeping low-income neighborhoods together. There may be no better place to focus on that than Detroit.

The $5 billion Restoring Communities Left Behind Act would set aside money for 10 years. It aims at helping communities devastated by poverty and the pandemic to rebound. That money would go toward weatherizing homes, saving homes from demolition and working to help people move from renting to owning in order to stay in their communities.

“When you drive by, you’ll see the the blue tarps over people’s rooftops, you’re hearing more and more folks talking about watching our neighbors be foreclosed on and high rates of eviction among their neighbors who are renting,” Tlaib said.

Detroit has been one of the hardest hit cities in the post-Recession urban housing bust. According to recent data, more than half of those living in the city do not own their own home. The city has launched several multi-million dollar campaigns to renovate or demolish blighted buildings around the city, which is another approach Tlaib disagrees with.

“We don’t want to tear down our neighborhoods anymore, we want to invest in them,” Tlaib said. “We understand that there was a blight crisis, we understand that that it became a public safety health issue, but many of our families at this point are saying enough.”

The bill has been co-sponsored by a number of Democratic officials, including Michigan Rep. Andy Levin. The only GOP official to co-sponsor the bill is also from Michigan, Rep. Fred Upton.

The bill can be read here.


About the Author:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.