CLEVELAND - It's a decision that is sure to have an impact on the thousands of condemned homes that continue to plague northeast Ohio neighborhoods.
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency announced it has received U.S. Treasury approval to use up to $60 million from Ohio's remaining Hardest Hit Funds for demolition efforts.
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) applauded the decision by the Treasury to provide additional funds toward combating the growing number of vacant homes in Ohio through demolition of vacant properties.
"Treasury's decision will help alleviate the demolition bottleneck," said Congresswoman Kaptur, who has been involved in a bipartisan effort by the northern Ohio congressional delegation to free up the Hardest Hit funds for demolition.
"This allows us to take the important first step in rebuilding and revitalizing neighborhoods that have been devastated by the implosion in the housing market."
Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad believes the additional funds will make a difference in northeast Ohio neighborhoods.
"Vacant and abandoned properties are depressing home values and weakening efforts to revitalize communities across Ohio," said Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad. "That is why Treasury is pleased to help Ohio utilize the Hardest Hit Fund to address neighborhood blight and thereby prevent foreclosures and strengthen the housing recovery."
The funds will be available in as many as 16 counties in Ohio with established land banks, which would include Cuyahoga, Lucas, Lorain and Erie counties in the Ninth Congressional District.
The Obama Administration launched the Hardest Hit Fund in 2010 to help homeowners to avoid foreclosure in the areas hardest hit by steep home price declines and unemployment.
The Thriving Communities Institute estimates that 15,000 vacant houses exist in Cuyahoga County alone.