Blight in Detroit has grown to a massive scale and the urgency to address it becomes greater every day. Many neighborhoods are demanding change in their quality of life. Blight has been a painful reality for too long and has deterred economic investment and threatened the safety of the city’s children. Entire blocks made up of abandoned buildings have become cesspools for crime and 60 percent of the city’s annual 12,000 fires involved blighted and abandoned buildings.
“We have to get the violent crime down and we’ve got to remove the blight. We’ve got to add jobs and businesses so everyone in Detroit has an opportunity,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “The magnitude of the blight problem in the city is enormous; but instead of whining about it, we’ve got to work on it!”
Over the past 25 years, Motor City Blight Busters, in conjunction with its coalition of community partners can proudly claim utilizing the skills of 120,000 volunteers. These volunteers have contributed more than 658,000 volunteer hours to stop the spread of blight while revitalizing and stabilizing Detroit’s long forgotten neighborhoods. MCBB’s efforts are performed year round, six-days a week due to the prevalence of blight throughout Detroit. Instead of only focusing on large structures or only setting specific target dates for projects, the MCBB crew goes where they are most needed for the month, week, or day. Its goal is to support the community towards revitalization through the beautification of the environment.
“Blight is like a cancer.” Said John George, President and Founder of Motor City Blight Busters. “If you don’t stop it it’ll spread and kill everything so it’s in everyone’s best interest to eliminate, remove, and do whatever necessary to stop it in its tracks otherwise it’ll spread and destroy whole neighborhoods and communities. Our goal is to save the world starting with Detroit. Detroit is on the right path with the we have the right mayor, the right council, and the support of the business community. We’re starting to see property values flying, community spirit soar, new businesses, restaurants, and new opportunities. As we continue to clean up and stabilize and revitalize Detroit we’re creating more opportunities for everyone.”
Motor City Blightbusters has hosted more than 500 suburban teens over the last two years who volunteered for inner city projects through the “Summer in the City” program, brought together 150 people in the JACOB (the Jewish and Chaldean Opportunity Builders) to assist in projects, and helped 20 urban teenage girls find fun and healthy activities in another Motor City Blight Busters program, Girlfriendz. It is important to MCBB’s mission to bolster skills and foster in young adults a life-long commitment to their community.
MCBB has used past grant funding to support general operating expenses, purchase large equipment to improve efficiency and scalability, as well as pay for training and certifications required to respond to state and federally declared natural disasters with United Peace Relief, INC, and their National Partners.
The elimination of blighted structures and vacant lots gives Detroit residents visible signs of positive change and creates hope and empowerment to work towards continued improvement. The mission of the Motor City Blight Busters is to provide children living in the community with a place worthy of calling home.