DETROIT (WWJ) – In the first State of the City address since Detroit exited the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, Mayor Mike Duggan told the crowd that Detroit on its way to recovery, but still has a long way to go.
Speaking live on WWJ Wednesday morning, Duggan said people are moving to the city at a rate officials have never seen before. But that’s not the trouble.
“The key is to get the folks in the neighborhoods to stop moving out. That’s been the problem,” he said. “As we’ve got people moving into vacant houses and fixing them up, what about the person across the street whose house is starting to get run down?”
In his address Tuesday night, Duggan announced a new program with The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to grant loans to low-income homeowners who want to make home improvements.
“These are loans to repair your house. So, as property values are coming back and as people are deciding to stay, they may need a new roof, a new furnace. And so you can borrow up to $25,000 and pay it back over 10 years with zero percent interest,” said Duggan. “It’s for people who are earning an individual $36,000 or less, or a family of four earning $52,000 or less — so these are people who would be having trouble getting these home loans otherwise.”
On top of the new program, Duggan said his team is fiercely dedicated to improving the city’s beleaguered neighborhoods.
“We have a very conservative strategy, but we’re putting up 1,000 street lights a week. We’ve put up 35,000 in the last year and people are no longer living in the dark. We’ve got teams up picking up 600 tons of illegal dumping and the neighborhoods are starting to get cleaned up. We’ve cut the grass and got 250 parks open,” said Duggan. “So, it’s a lot of boring details that add up into a very different quality of life, but we’re getting there.”
The overall feel in Detroit right now is one of optimism, and Duggan is hoping residents will notice the city’s resurgence and feel pride in their hearts to call it their home.
“I think every month that goes by, you see in the city more street lights, fewer vacant buildings, a little less graffiti, less garbage on the streets, and every month that we improve it our prospects get a little brighter,” said Duggan.
To learn more about the Detroit Opportunity home repair loans, visit www.detroithomeloans.org.