Interactive map of 3,400 homes in Detroit and $21-million earmar - KMSP-TV

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

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DETROIT (WJBK) - 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 under a state law that allows municipalities to take a portion of insurance settlements to encourage homeowners to clean up after a disaster. If the owner doesn't take action after 120-days, the city can keep the money to clear up the mess. In thousands of cases the city cashed the checks and did nothing. 

How much money are we talking? Elrick's investigation determined around $21-million. He also obtained a list of 3,400 homes on city's Fire Escrow data base; homes the city claimed as a portion of a payout that went into the escrow account.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH ELRICK'S FULL REPORT ABOUT HOW THE MONEY WORKS

The homes on this list have been converted to an interactive map at the top of this page. Are one of these homes in your neighborhood?  ZOOM IN AROUND THE MAP FOR BEST USE.

Click on the any red dot on the map to get an address. If there is a home in your neighborhood, fill out our form, take a picture and let us know about it. Our goal is to help clean up the neighborhoods and we need information to help get it done.

CLICK HERE TO FILE A REPORT WITH FOX 2

Scroll and zoom around the map. 

Click on a red dot to bring up an address and to view the amount of money that was allocated to the city's Fire Escrow Fund. Legend: Amount withheld = Money into city's Fire Escrow fund.


Let Fox 2 know if there is a home on this map in your neighborhood. Fill out the form and send in a photo. CLICK HERE FOR THE FORM.>>
 

Our goal is to help get these buildings knocked down as soon as possible.  And we need your help.
Using the form 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?

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.

How the Escrow Fund Works:

Michigan Lawmakers set up the Fire Insurance Escrow Fund laws to make sure taxpayers wouldn't’t get burned if someone in their neighborhood had a fire and walked away from the property.  According to the State Department of Insurance and Financial services,

“The program is designed to provide municipalities with some financial protection against the cost of cleaning up a damaged structure following a fire loss.”

The City of Detroit signed up for the Fire Insurance Withholding program in 1982, the year the law went into effect.  Since then the law has been amended several times.  The last amendment gave cities with populations of 50,000 or more residents (or cities located in counties with populations greater than 425,000) more protections.  Instead of just fire loss, a city like Detroit gets protection from the “perils of vandalism, malicious mischief, wind, hail, riot, or civil commotion.”
(http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-500-2227 )


That means if a home owner gets an insurance check for any of those things the City of Detroit can put 25% of the settlement into an escrow account until the property is brought up to code or the structure is torn down.  The law also says, if the owner hasn't’t fixed up the property within 120 days the city can start spending the money.

To find out more about a house on the map call the city's Building & Safety Engineering Department at (313) 628-2660 or e-mail: fie@detroitmi.gov

Resources:
DIF Frequently Asked Questions>>
To find out if your city participates:
If you’d like to read the Law:
MCL 500.2227 of the THE INSURANCE CODE OF 1956 (EXCERPT) Act 218 of 1956



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