Thriving Communities – Land Banks Gear Up for OHFA Stabilization Dollars

At its April, 2014 quarterly meeting, Thriving Communities Institute (an outreach of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy), county land bank representatives and county treasurers met to discuss best practices, new land bank legislation and emerging guidelines to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency’s (OHFA) recently announced plan to utilize Hardest Hit Funds (“HHF”) for demolition of vacant and abandoned structures.
Cindy Flaherty, OHFA’s Director of Homeownership, explained the program and answered important questions on program implementation.Thriving Communities
Thriving Communities Director James Rokakis played a central role in advocating to the U.S. Treasury Department and the Northeast Ohio congressional delegation to make these funds available.  “As the studies clearly show, targeted demolition not only promotes increased property values and neighborhood stability, but also lessens home foreclosures,” said Rokakis.
Cuyahoga Land Bank President Gus Frangos also updated his statewide land bank counterparts on legislative changes under the recently passed Senate Bill 172 which facilities land banking practice.  Trumbull County Treasurer Sam Lamancusa announced that he was hosting treasurers and prosecutors to observe the Trumbull County process for Board of Revision tax foreclosures.  “The nice thing about the new law is that it can be used by big and small counties based on the priorities and capacity of each county,” said Lamancusa.
Thriving Communities Institute has provided extensive training to new land banks which it helped set-up, and continues to provide technical assistance when needed, and through its quarterly land bank meetings.

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