Two Indiana programs will receive a share of a nationally-competitive $5 million grant. Projects in Gary and Fort Wayne are among 37 Knight Cities Challenge winners. In Gary, an organization called Steel City Salvage is being created by the Chicago-based nonprofit Delta Institute to reclaim building materials from vacant and abandoned homes in the city, reselling them as a means of economic development opportunities. Fort Wayne’s funding will support Tired-a-lot by Bridge of Grace Compassionate Ministries’ effort to create a design studio to engage local youth with vacant lot transformations.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is awarding $385,000 to the Steel City Salvage project and more than $95,000 for Tired-a-lot by Bridge of Grace Compassionate Ministries.

Delta Institute Director of Strategic Priorities Eve Pytel says programs that focus on reuse of materials are an improvement over traditional blight elimination efforts. "It creates a lot more opportunities. If you’re just approaching blight through demolishing houses, you get really good at demolishing houses. The goal for any city is to really not get good at managing blight, but really reverse the things that are causing blight." She says the causes include disinvestment, out-migration and other challenges like workers transitioning from stints of unemployment.

You can connect to more about the Delta Institute’s Steel City Salvage project by clicking here.

The Bridge of Grace Compassionate Ministries project will use low-cost materials for improvements to vacant lots. More on the Tired-a-lot effort can be found by clicking here.

Delta Institute Director of Strategic Priorities Eve Pytel tells Inside INdiana Business, the program in Gary could be replicated elsewhere.

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