Grant funds study of blight-reduction efforts on violence

MGN Online

University of Michigan and other schools and organizations are using a $6 million federal grant to continue studying the effects of improving blighted neighborhoods on reducing violence.

The Ann Arbor school said Friday the five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supports work being done in Flint, Michigan, Youngstown, Ohio, and Camden, New Jersey. Collaborators include the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University and many local health and community development groups.

Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center leaders say blight and neglect have contributed to rising levels of violence. The work focuses on engaging residents, particularly youth, in caring for vacant and empty lots.

Center director Marc Zimmerman says research shows getting youth working on community-improvement projects has proven more effective than many efforts to improve their behavior.

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