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Press Release


Contact:
Julie Hales Smith
Michigan Vacant Property Campaign Coordinator
(517) 231-3293
julie@michiganvacantproperty.org

Matt Bach, Director of Media Relations
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317; C (810) 874-1073
mbach@mml.org; www.mml.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 16, 2015

New Guidebook Tackles Blight, Vacancy Issues across Michigan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new guidebook being unveiled today in Lansing will give Michigan communities the tools and resources to help address blight and vacant structures.

The Michigan Vacant Property Campaign (MVPC) will release the Michigan Blight Elimination Guidebook today during the Building Michigan Communities Conference in Lansing. This is a new, free resource for Michigan communities to use to address blight and vacancy issues.

The guidebook is available online at miblightguidebook.org - making it an ever-changing document that compiles the most recent blight mitigation resources, opportunities, and ideas from across the state. It also serves as a primer for Michigan communities interested in developing a strategy to more effectively address blight with limited resources. The document is designed to provide municipal leaders with a variety of blight elimination resources and lead them through the development of a blight elimination plan.

“In our work with communities across the state, the Michigan Vacant Property Campaign hears from community stakeholders about their blight and vacancy issues, as well as their current strategies for dealing with them. No matter the types of issues, or progress on eliminating blight, this guidebook will have useful information for them,” said Julie Hales Smith, MVPC coordinator.

This report will also serve as a helpful point of reference for communities across the nation looking to develop a resource on blight elimination planning.

“In the face of shrinking resources, this guidebook empowers leaders to develop plans that strategically address blight. Its step-by-step approach will not only help communities in Michigan, but can also serve as a model for cities around the country that are working hard to address vacancy and abandonment with limited dollars,” said Danielle Lewinski, vice president and director of Michigan Initiatives at the Center for Community Progress.

The MVPC campaign (michiganvacantproperty.org/about) is a collaboration of four partner organizations that each address blight and vacancy issues in unique ways. The four organizations are the Center for Community Progress, Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, Michigan Community Resources, and Michigan Municipal League.

Hales Smith added it made a lot of sense to release the guidebook today during the Building Michigan Communities Conference. The event is the nation's largest conference focusing on housing, community development, preservation, and related topics, and brings together nearly 2,000 attendees in the nonprofit, public, financial, and private fields.

Additional information:

The Michigan Vacant Property Campaign exists to efficiently and effectively meet the needs of leaders in the state who are committed to turning the vacant properties in their communities into assets. It is a collaboration between four organizations with unique expertise related to vacant property issues: the Center for Community ProgressCommunity Economic Development Association of Michigan, Michigan Municipal League and Michigan Community Resources. Created to develop a statewide network of practice and expertise, the MVPC assists small, rural, suburban and metropolitan areas. The MVPC’s core activities are to provide education and outreach, community and partner technical assistance, local campaign formation and policy and systems development. (http://michiganvacantproperty.org/about/)

Center for Community Progress, headquartered in Flint, Michigan, is the only national nonprofit solely dedicated to building a future in which entrenched blight and vacancy no longer exist. Community Progress offers technical assistance, education, research, and policy development to cities and states nationwide. (http://www.communityprogress.net/)

Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) provides policy and advocacy work, technical assistance, and education opportunities to Michigan nonprofit organizations involved in community economic development. (http://cedam.info/)

Michigan Community Resources (MCR) supports and empowers nonprofit community organizations in Michigan that serve low-income individuals and communities, with an emphasis on community economic development, by providing pro bono legal services and technical assistance. (http://www.mi-community.org/)

The Michigan Municipal League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services.

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