Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has received some major support in his goal to get more police officers, and ultimately more city employees, living in the city.
The JPMorgan Chase Foundation awarded the city a $1 million donation to encourage city officials living outside the city limits to move into Detroit. The first 10 police officers to make the move will receive $25,000 toward down payments on their homes. The remaining 60 employees will receive $15,000 each toward their down payments.
Bing was pleased with the donation to bring more families into the city.
“We are restoring a sense of community and pride in our neighborhoods by encouraging Detroiters to live where they work,” Bing said. “We are rebuilding homes and strengthening neighborhoods with the help of financial institutions.”
Officials from JPMorgan Chase said the donation was part of the bank’s ongoing commitment to the city. “We want to make neighborhoods more livable for residents,” said Mary Kay Bean, a Chase spokeswoman.
Chase is already recognized in Detroit through its consumer banking operations. The gift shows their continued vested interest in the city’s community development efforts.
City employees receiving the down payment assistance must live in select neighborhoods as defined by Bing’s Detroit Works Project. The effort addresses the growing vacancies plaguing the city and proposes ways to consolidate the city’s residential areas for efficiency. Police will have additional housing options as defined by Bing’s Project 14 geared to officers living outside the city.
Detroit joins other cities that encourage police officers to live in the jurisdictions they serve. The Motor City has been marked by a steep population decline over the past decades — since 1950, Detroit has lost 60 percent of its residents. The city’s population now stands at an estimated 940,000 people, making it the 11th largest U.S. city.
Large pockets of Detroit, however, are abandoned by the flight of former residents. This has created more issues with vacant lots, dumping and crime. Having a police presence, even from a residential standpoint, can help the city address problems sooner and more frequently.
Bing, himself moved back into the city of Detroit ahead of his election in mid-2009 as the city’s 70th mayor.