This is essentially what Detroit mayor Dave Bing is telling anyone willing to take one of 200 abandoned homes. A college student can get $2,500 in rent money and a $20,000 forgivable loan; a policeman willing to relocate can get, for $1,000 down, $150,000 in renovation money. The latter offer is an effort to get police officers to actually live in the areas being policed; a glut of abandoned homes and a lack of resident officers leaves some parts of Detroit woefully underpatrolled.
Two words of note, though. First, this more recent story by Business Insider rather prominently quotes 100 homes instead, which is incorrect, and the 100 homes they show don't appear to actually be 100 homes; most of the pictures are via Kevin Bauman's 100 Abandoned Houses. Look at #10, #19, #22 and #23. Nor are they all in the neighborhoods actually being offered, which are Boston Edison and East English Village. Also, this is first-phase thing, involving just the 200 homes, and if it works out well enough, more houses might be opened up. If the Business Insider story is the one you saw- and that's the one Fark greenlit, so it just might be- you got some bad information.
Second, you get what you pay for. Many of the abandoned homes in Detroit, offered or not, are slowly being taken back by Mother Nature, and she is quite far along the process in some cases, as #3 and #64 would indicate. If you decide to hop in, you are going to want to bring plenty of tools.