This spring, the Cuyahoga Land Bank was awarded the largest portion of $49.5 million in federal Hardest Hit Funds (HHF) by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) for the demolition of blighted vacant properties. OHFA recently followed up with a second round of funding, distributing more than $10 million to 15 counties with established land banks in Ohio. The Cuyahoga Land Bank received another $1.2 million, bringing the total 2014 allocation to the Cuyahoga Land Bank to $11.3 million.
According to OHFA, the HHF funds, which were made available through the Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP), were awarded to applicants that are focusing efforts on target areas in which the demolition and greening of abandoned properties will help prevent further reduction in property values and stem further foreclosures.
“Foreclosures result in distressed sales that further depress property values and continue the downward spiral, too often resulting in vacant and blighted homes,” said OHFA Executive Director Doug Garver in a press release. “NIP is a critical component to stabilizing home values and preventing foreclosure.”
The $60 million of HHF distributed by OHFA this year are part of $570.4 million in HHF awarded to OHFA in 2010 to administer the state’s foreclosure prevention program, Save the Dream Ohio. Any funds not spent by the fall of 2016 must be returned to the US Treasury Department.
To date, the Cuyahoga Land Bank leads efforts to put this year’s funding allocation to use. Since mid-March, the Cuyahoga Land Bank has spent more than $1 million of the awarded funds to demolish more than 100 properties.
“We are working hard to take advantage of this funding by removing blighted homes from our community,” said Cuyahoga Land Bank President Gus Frangos. “Demolition of dilapidated structures that are beyond repair is an essential element of revitalizing our neighborhoods.”