Detroit to cops: Buy a house for $1,000 down

Feb. 18, 2011 at 8:16 AM ET

Paul Sancya / AP /
So many homes in Detroit are vacant that wrecking crews have been knocking them down.

Bringing a blighted, crime-ridden neighborhood back to life is never easy. This challenge has been tackled in Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia and elsewhere, and now Detroit is in the spotlight for its dramatic urban-resurrection efforts.

Detroit Mayor David Bing this month unveiled a program aimed at enticing police officers to relocate from the suburbs to the city they serve. Dubbed Project 14, the program allows officers to buy vacant houses -- many of which were abandoned after foreclosures -- with down payments of only $1,000.

The historic homes being made available in Detroit’s Boston-Edison and East English Village neighborhoods are appraised at $40,000 to $80,000. Monthly mortgage payments, including principal, interest, taxes and insurance, are expected to fall in the $500 to $1,000 range.

A major benefit of the program, beyond the low payments, is that officers could be eligible for up to $150,000 in federal grant money to renovate the homes. Officials hope Project 14 will provide a double-whammy of recovery by fixing up houses that sorely need help and reducing crime because more police will be present within city limits.

Another Detroit program, Live Midtown, is offering incentives to encourage college graduates to move closer to the places where they work. Those incentives include $2,500 cash toward apartment costs for new renters and up to $25,000 in forgivable loans for new home buyers.

Do you think these kinds of incentives are a good idea? More importantly, do you think they will work?