Lori, Nesbitt, Pagel says funds will improve communities
State Reps. Matt Lori, Aric Nesbitt and Dave Pagel issued the following statement on a $740,000 Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) grant awarded to the Berrien-Cass-Van Buren Michigan Works to eliminate blight in Southwestern Michigan:
“This is a good use for this funding, which is the result of a lawsuit concerning foreclosure practices,” said Lori, R-Constantine. “Questionable mortgage foreclosures were partially responsible for many of the unoccupied houses in Southwestern Michigan, so it is only fitting that the funds from the lawsuit should go toward building our communities up again.”
Nesbitt, R, Lawton, said: “Blight caused by abandoned and uninhabitable houses and buildings is a problem in Van Buren County, and I am happy to see grant money being available for demolition. Empty buildings have had a very negative impact on neighborhoods and property values, and being able to tear down the worst of these houses will help communities hardest hit by the economic challenges of the last decade.”
Pagel, R-Oronoko Township, said: “Abandoned buildings and long-empty houses are not only an eyesore in our neighborhoods, but also represent a public safety issue as well. This is a good use of the lawsuit funds to stabilize and improve our communities.”
The funds from the March 2012 settlement totaled $97.2 million. Of that, the Legislature allocated $25 million for blight elimination, which is being granted to 34 municipal, township and county entities statewide.