Republican Gov. Rick Snyder plans to use about $10 million of Michigan's $97 million payout from a national mortgage-settlement fund to help demolish abandoned houses that surround nine schools in three of Detroit's deteriorating communities. At the same time, social workers will relocate from their offices into schools in an effort to reduce truancy and establish the buildings as neighborhood hubs.


The governor's plan is modeled after a program in Grand Rapids, the state's second-largest city, that helped reduce truancy and stabilize neighborhoods there, according to Maura D. Corrigan, director of the Michigan Department of Human Services.


... the state's plans have received a cool reception among Detroit's top leaders in recent weeks. And the new state funding will fall far short of the money needed to meet Mr. Bing's target of tearing down 10,000 houses in Detroit by 2013.


Detroit officials say the city has lagged in its demolition efforts because it has been fighting for greater access to federal funds. City building officials estimate that each demolition job costs about $8,000, including asbestos removal and utility shutoffs.

Advisers to the governor say the work can be done for half that. State officials advised by industry experts--including Bill Pulte, a private-equity investor whose grandfather founded homebuilder Pulte Homes--say that relaxing city and state regulations, and working more closely with utilities, would cut costs and speed the process.

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