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Has the city been paid to knock down the blighted house that's driving you crazy?

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  • Interactive map of 3,400 homes in Detroit and $21-million earmarked to fix or demolish them

    Interactive map of 3,400 homes in Detroit and $21-million earmarked to fix or demolish them

    Thursday, March 27 2014 4:51 PM EDT2014-03-27 20:51:38 GMT
    An investigation by Fox 2's M.L. Elrick finds the city is sitting on millions of dollars it collected from insurance companies to clean up homes and properties after a disaster.  But in hundreds of cases the money never got used and the homes become abandoned.  Are one of these homes next you?  Use our interactive map to find out and file a report.
    The bureaucracy in the city of Detroit is so bad that the city can't spend the money it collects to knock down abandoned homes. An investigation by Fox 2's M.L. Elrick finds the city is sitting on millions of dollars it collected from insurance companies to clean up homes and properties after a disaster. Are one of these homes next to you? Use our interactive map to find out and file a report.
By M.L. Elrick
Fox 2 Investigative Reporter

 
Has the city been paid to knock down the house that’s been driving you crazy?
 
It’s a troubling question, and one Fox 2 has been investigating for months.

To our surprise, and to the chagrin of many Detroiters, we’ve found that in hundreds of cases - and possibly thousands of cases - the answer is "Yes."

That’s because the city has been collecting millions of dollars from insurance companies when a building was severely damaged. City records Fox 2 obtained indicate Detroit has claimed more than $21 million in insurance money for more than 3,400 buildings since 1989.

Our investigation determined that, in many cases, the city has cashed the insurance company checks but failed to demolish the derelict buildings. This failure to act has left countless families living next to eyesores that could - and should - have been torn down years ago.

Two months after we first exposed this problem, Mayor Mike Duggan announced in his State of the City Address that he would use these unspent funds to knock down homes.

To help Detroiters determine whether the city has money on hand to demolish derelict buildings in their neighborhoods, we have created an interactive map that shows which buildings are on the city’s fire insurance escrow list, the date the building was damaged and how much the city collected from the insurance company. We obtained this information under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

LINK: Click here to view the interactive map


Some of the homes on the list have already been demolished. Some have been repaired and are occupied. Many have been sitting for years, waiting for the city to take action.

Fox 2’s goal is to help get these buildings knocked down as soon as possible. And we need your help.

Using the form on our website you can let us know whether you live near one of these buildings and share your story about what that experience has been like. Was the damaged building the first occurrence of blight in your neighborhood - or the last straw for neighbors who decided to move on?

LINK: Click here to file the report with Fox 2


We plan to collect your stories to help us put a human face on a tragic story about a city bureaucracy so broken it would allow residents to live next to rotting homes unnecessarily.

We also invite you to send us a photo of you and the eyesore in your neighborhood. You can share these photos with us on the Fox 2 Facebook page, the Fox 2 Twitter account, or email the photo to us directly at wjbkwebteam@foxtv.com. We ask that you please include the address of the home so we can keep tabs on the status of the building.


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  • City of Detroit posts improvement updates online

    City of Detroit posts improvement updates online

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:18 AM EDT2014-07-31 11:18:29 GMT
    Residents will be able to view the number of new streetlights installed in their Detroit neighborhood, how many lots were mown and the number of vacant houses demolished by going to the city's website.
    Residents will be able to view the number of new streetlights installed in their Detroit neighborhood, how many lots were mown and the number of vacant houses demolished by going to the city's website.
  • Community comes together to support slain Armada teen's family

    Community comes together to support slain Armada teen's family

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:55 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:55:10 GMT
    Nearly a week after 14-year-old April Millsap was found murdered in the small town of Armada, friends, family and even those who didn't know the young girl gather for music in the park - this time hoping for justice.They were there to help raise money to ease the burden on April's heartbroken mother."We're as well as can be expected," said aunt Sarah Lichtenfelt. "They are just grateful for all the prayers and support, that's all we ask is to keep praying for strength."In the middle of it all...
    Nearly a week after 14-year-old April Millsap was found murdered in the small town of Armada, friends, family and even those who didn't know the young girl gather for music in the park - this time hoping for justice.They were there to help raise money to ease the burden on April's heartbroken mother."We're as well as can be expected," said aunt Sarah Lichtenfelt. "They are just grateful for all the prayers and support, that's all we ask is to keep praying for strength."In the middle of it all...
  • Family asks for justice after mother of three found dead next to dumpster

    Family asks for justice after mother of three found dead next to dumpster

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:33:46 GMT
    When 32-year-old Katherine Gibson was a little girl, her loved ones thought, the "life" ahead of her would be long. But it wasn't."Me and my girlfriend dropped her off and she had just told us, she loved us," said Marvin Gibson, her cousin.That would be the last "I love you" that he would hear. because after Gibson's cousin dropped her off at Harper and Conner, near Bronco's Market. The day after, she was found dead. Gibson's lifeless body, discovered by a dumpster, beside the building."Layin...
    When 32-year-old Katherine Gibson was a little girl, her loved ones thought, the "life" ahead of her would be long. But it wasn't."Me and my girlfriend dropped her off and she had just told us, she loved us," said Marvin Gibson, her cousin.That would be the last "I love you" that he would hear. because after Gibson's cousin dropped her off at Harper and Conner, near Bronco's Market. The day after, she was found dead. Gibson's lifeless body, discovered by a dumpster, beside the building."Layin...
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  • Teen pleads guilty in 1 World Trade Center climb

    Teen pleads guilty in 1 World Trade Center climb

    A teenager who made a surreptitious climb to the top of the 1 World Trade Center tower has pleaded guilty in an escapade that fanned concerns about security at the nation's tallest building.
    A teenager who made a surreptitious climb to the top of the 1 World Trade Center tower has pleaded guilty in an escapade that fanned concerns about security at the nation's tallest building.
  • Summit at City Hall to discuss police-community relations

    Summit at City Hall to discuss police-community relations

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:29 AM EDT2014-07-31 11:29:54 GMT
    Ways to improve the relationship between the NYPD and communities in New York City will be at the center of a summit held at City Hall on Thursday. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Rev. Al Sharpton, city officials and community leaders are expected to attend the round table. Accusations of police brutality and the death of a man under arrest for selling un-taxed cigarettes on Staten Island lead Mayor De Blasio to host the forum.
    Ways to improve the relationship between the NYPD and communities in New York City will be at the center of a summit held at City Hall on Thursday. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Rev. Al Sharpton, city officials and community leaders are expected to attend the round table. Accusations of police brutality and the death of a man under arrest for selling un-taxed cigarettes on Staten Island lead Mayor De Blasio to host the forum.
  • Healthy food pilot program launched in Connecticut

    Healthy food pilot program launched in Connecticut

    An online marketplace for farmers markets and a nonprofit Connecticut health insurance company are launching a new program to bring local, fresh food to Fairfield County residents.
    An online marketplace for farmers markets and a nonprofit Connecticut health insurance company are launching a new program to bring local, fresh food to Fairfield County residents.
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