Local members of Congress joining forces to cleanup neighborhoods

CLEVELAND - Local members of Congress are join forces to cleanup neighborhoods in Cleveland.

Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14), Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (OH-11) and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) held a news conference on Wednesday to talk about the bi-partisan legislation that would impact northeast Ohio.

On Wednesday, Joyce announced the Restore Our Neighborhoods Act, which will protect responsible homeowners by allocating funds to demolish vacant, abandoned, or foreclosed properties.

Fudge and former Congressman Steven Latourette introduced the bill last year. It did not reach a vote in the House, so it has to be re-introduced.

If passed, it would help cities across the country demolish vacant houses. Empty houses are sitting in neighborhoods from Cleveland to Toledo bringing down the value of neighborhoods, said the Congress members.

According to the Government Accountability Office, a foreclosed, vacant or tax-delinquent property reduces neighboring property prices by almost 10 percent and can reduce values of nearby homes by as much as $8,600 to $17,000 per property.

The Restore Our Neighborhoods Act creates a national qualified urban demolition bond limitation that the Secretary of the Treasury can allocate among the states to empower leaders to undertake significant residential and commercial structure demolition projects.

The bonds will be issued by land banks, and in cases where a state does not have a land bank, by the state itself.

"I believe this bill is going to pass," said Fudge. "It is common sense."

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