By Vickie Thomas

DETROIT (WWJ) – A former U.S. Marine is looking to bring a surge of soldiers to the city of Detroit — but it’s not for the reason you may think.

Reed Benet says he wants to populate the Motor City with veterans with help from a program he’s proposing called “Valor Village USA.”

“We surged into Afghanistan and attempted to fix those places, while they were shooting at us,” Benet told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas. “We’re trying to surge military vets in Detroit.”

Benet says vets can take advantage of a $417,000 loan guarantee through the GI Bill, that will allow them to become a landlord of a four unit building.

“If we get this thing going, it gets the attention of Wall Street,” Benet said. “They will sit here and say, wow that is something new for Detroit.”

Benet said a surge of Marines in the city could make a big difference.

“The question is, do you want to live in Detroit?” he said. “How would it be if you didn’t have to move until you found 999 of your compatriots that would move there also? Would that make you feel safe? Would you feel safe in that neighborhood?”

Benet said veterans who do become landlords will be able to live in one unit, and be a landlord of another.

“Hopefully we can have a Quicken Loans type lender that wants to come in, write lots of loans and hopefully make a lot of money,” Benet said.

Benet approached Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan with the idea last week.


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