New Michigan Blight Elimination guidebook for community and economic development

Developed by the Michigan Vacant Property Campaign, the guidebook is designed to assist local officials and stakeholders with creating a plan to eliminate blight in their communities.

Homes that are occupied and well maintained increase the property values of the area and improve quality of life in that neighborhood. Maintaining the value of property in the community can attract both community and economic development throughout the community. Blighted property can be defined as land that is dilapidated, unsafe or unsightly. Each community develops an ordinance outlining the specific criteria for what is considers bighted property.

The Michigan Vacant Property Campaign (MVPC), founded in 2012, was organized to assist local and state leaders in turning their vacant properties into community assets. The MVPC is a partnership among four organizations: Center for Community Progress, Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, Michigan Community Resources and Michigan Municipal League. Each partner provides specific expertise to address blight and vacancy issues.

The Michigan Blight Elimination guidebook, developed by MVPC under the leadership of Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), is written to assist local leaders in identifying their community’s blight issues as a starting point and obtaining specific community data to develop a plan for elimination. The guidebook recognizes that every community has different issues and challenges but they all have limited resources. It offers communities a variety of blight elimination non-financial resources and helps prepare them for future funding opportunities that may become available through state agencies, foundations or national organizations.

The Guidebook is divided into five steps:

  1. Assess Blight: Get data; Analyze data
  2. Set Goals: Key questions
  3. Resources: Tools, Partners, Funding
  4. Make a Plan: Strategic, Transparent Planning
  5. Implement Plan: Coordination, Partners, Funding, Evaluation

Each step provides specific information on the importance of the step, how to work through the step, additional resources available, practical information and examples from other cities.

The guidebook was unveiled at the April, 2015 Building Michigan Communities conference in Lansing. For more information on community blight or vacant property, contact one of the MVPC partners:

  • Center for Community Progress, headquartered in Flint, Michigan, is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to building a future in which entrenched blight and vacancy no longer exist. Community Progress offers technical assistance, education, research, and policy development to cities and states nationwide.
  • Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) provides policy and advocacy work, technical assistance, and education opportunities to Michigan nonprofit organizations involved in community economic development.
  • Michigan Community Resources (MCR) supports and empowers nonprofit community organizations in Michigan that serve low-income individuals and communities, with an emphasis on community economic development, by providing pro bono legal services and technical assistance.
  • Michigan Municipal League (MML) provides advocacy, training, information, and technical assistance to municipalities.
  • Michigan State University Extension provides information on home maintenance. Contact your local MSU Extension office for more information. 

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