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      Federal program helps stabilize Flint housing market

      The Dutch Colonial at 1008 Dupont St. is ready for move-in, thanks to some federal dollars put to good use.

      Since 2010, more than $36.5 million federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds have helped rehabilitate Genesee County Land Bank properties in the city of Flint and the rest of the county.

      "This has been a tremendous investment at a time when the housing market really needed the support,?? Mayor Dayne Walling said.

      The benefits are starting to show in the changing landscape of once decrepit neighborhoods.

      Joshua Spencer of the Spencer Agency, which markets some of the newly-renovated homes, said the NSP??s goal is simple: ??Take the worst home in a neighborhood, make it the best home in the neighborhood and sell it off at a market price, which is extremely affordable for local residents."

      Some neighbors are cautiously optimistic the efforts will pay off.

      Malinda Currie pointed out the property at 1008 Dupont St. has been ??sittin?? there for a while and nobody's purchased it."

      The hope is the homes will attract buyers who will stay in the neighborhood, which would be good for the rest of the block.

      ??It's almost a way to have these new homes help everybody keep up with that and fix up their own homes too,?? Spencer said.

      Flint city leaders say the federal funds are steadily stabilizing the local housing market. So far $23.9 million was used to build or rehabilitate 177 homes and $12.6 million was used to demolish more than 1,400 blighted houses torn down.

      ??We need the dollars to invest now so that we can make our communities more stable long-term,?? Walling said, and added that city and county leaders will push hard for continued support for the program.

      For a list of available properties, visit www.thelandbank.org.