Ohio has been approved for $60 million to further demolish abandoned and vacant homes.
The U.S. Treasury Department has given the nod to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, to use part of the state's $375 million "Hardest Hit Funds" for taking down blighted properties.
Among those praising the news is Jim Rokakis, director of the Thriving Communities Institute. He says this all began nearly two years ago, when community groups, housing advocates, and Congressional delegates met with Treasury officials about the foreclosure crisis.
"And that's because with the collapse of Frannie and Freddie, the U.S government now backstops 9 out of 10 mortgages," explains Rokakis. "And we saw a clear connection between vacant properties and increased foreclosures. Our argument to them was, "Help us find money to take down some of these vacant properties, and we think we can bring down the foreclosure rate." So if you have to spend $20,000 to take down two houses, but it saves you from having to guarantee a mortgage of $150,000, that's a good deal."
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency figures that when this new demolition initiative begins next year, that $12,000 will be made available per property…which means 5,000 empty and foreclosed homes will be razed.
(Story by ideastream's Brian Bull)