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Taking on blight in community

Resuming meetings of the city’s Blighted Property Review Committee won’t solve all of Warren’s blight issues.

Jessica Bee, city code official, said she has a list of properties that will eventually be so far gone they can’t be salvaged if action isn’t taken soon. Bringing property owners before the Blighted Property Review Committee helps, but can only deal with so many properties at one time. The same goes for the Warren Redevelopment Authority.

What’s missing is a mechanism to help homeowners who are struggling with repairs. Some cities receive federal Community Development Block Grant funding to be able to do such work each year with programs that help low- to moderate-income residents with home repair and maintenance projects aimed at fighting blight. Other communities have non-profits that raise money for neighborhood programs that provide matching grants to homeowners for upkeep programs in targeted areas.

Warren doesn’t appear to have ready access to CDBG funding, but finding grant funding to implement programs to prevent houses from becoming blighted in the first place will do more to reverse neighborhood blight than spending time trying to fix blighted properties that have been neglected for periods of years.

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