Representatives Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) and Dave Joyce (OH-14) and Senator Rob Portman of Ohio today issued a joint statement supporting the Ohio Housing Financing Agency (OHFA) consideration of a proposal to the U.S. Department of the Treasury that would make $60 million available from the federal Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) program for demolition of vacant and blighted homes in targeted areas of the state. While the state of Ohio pursues a waiver, Reps. Fudge, Kaptur and Joyce, and Sen. Portman will continue to advocate for bipartisan legislation they introduced in the House and the Senate respectively to create a permanent restructuring of the HHF program.
"Communities severely impacted by the foreclosure crisis need flexibility to not only help struggling homeowners but also to address the immediate need of removing vacant, blighted homes which lower property values for surrounding homeowners," said Congresswoman Fudge. "I commend the state of Ohio for seeking a smart and sensible use of resources available in the Hardest Hit Fund that have gone unused for the past three years."
"The Northeast Ohio delegation has presented a united front on this important concern. Attacking blight is a bipartisan issue," said Congresswoman Kaptur. "The need is well documented in Cuyahoga County and our focus is simple. We are looking to every possible source to get adequate resources to help the hardest-hit neighborhoods recover."
"I'm pleased that we're moving forward together to improve the safety of our communities and protect responsible homeowners from burdensome vacant or abandoned properties. These funds will help increase home values while decreasing crime in our community. This is a win-win for Northeast Ohio," said Congressman Joyce.
"Demolishing vacant and abandoned buildings is vital to the safety of our communities," said Senator Portman. "This bipartisan initiative has the support of Mayors across Ohio along with Democrats and Republicans in Congress. I support a balanced approach that opens more funds for demolition while protecting struggling homeowners trying to make ends meet."
In June, the U.S. Department of the Treasury granted a waiver to the State of Michigan to use $100 million in Hardest Hit Funds for demolition purposes. Since 2010, Ohio has been allocated $570.4 million under the HHF program of which approximately $400 million remains unused.