- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The federal government is sending about $188 million more to Michigan that can be used to help eliminate blight in the state’s communities, officials announced Wednesday.

Three Democratic lawmakers from Michigan, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee and U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, said the money adds to earlier-approved funding for the state’s $74.5 million plan to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and eliminate blight in Detroit and Flint.

Michigan’s total share of roughly $253 million comes from $2 billion allocated to numerous states. The state received more than any other in the latest competitive round.

“Communities across Michigan will benefit greatly from this huge influx of federal funds,” Kildee said in a statement. “Removing blight raises property values for surrounding homeowners, decreases violent crime and unlocks greater opportunity for all families. Securing these funds has been a top priority and I look forward to seeing the real positive impact this initiative will have on neighborhoods across the state.”

The money goes to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, which distributes it to local communities based on demonstrated need; how much each community receives hasn’t been determined.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement that he expects to get more than the $42 million the city received in the previous round, which will allow Detroit to increase its pace of demolition from 4,000 homes last year to 5,000 this year and 6,000 the next.

The money is from the Hardest Hit Fund, which was created by the Treasury Department at the height of the housing crisis for states that had seen the greatest drops in home values. Since 2010, 16 Michigan cities have used $441 million from the Hardest Hit Fund to provide homeowner assistance, remove blight and support other efforts to revitalize neighborhoods.

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