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August 02, 2016

Hamilton County receives $3.1 million for blight fight

Hamilton County Land Reutilization Logo The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) announced the recipients of additional funding under a program designed to help prevent foreclosures and stabilize local property values through the demolition and greening of vacant and blighted homes across the state. Hamilton County is among the recipients of an additional round of funding of the Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP); this additional funding, totaling just over $3.1 million, will continue the work of the Hamilton County Land Reutilization Corporation (Hamilton County Landbank) of acquiring vacant and blighted properties and demolishing them under grant guidelines.

The Hamilton County Landbank has previously been awarded approximately $5.5 million in demolition funding under NIP. In order to qualify for reimbursement under the program, each property must be owned by the Landbank at the time of demolition. The initial $5.5 million must be spent by October 31, 2017, and the additional funds are expected to be required to be spent by the end of 2019.

Brunner, Laura newDeadlines for spending the additional $3.1 million have not yet been announced, but the Landbank has already commenced efforts to acquire properties that will qualify for inclusion in NIP and allow the Landbank to spend the additional allocation, according to Laura Brunner, President & CEO of the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority, which manages the Hamilton County Landbank.

“This additional allocation is great news for Hamilton County neighborhoods; the funding is powerful tool to accelerate revitalization,” Ms. Brunner said. “Typically, land banks qualify for additional funding after demonstrating exceptional progress toward acquiring vacant and blighted properties under the program, so that is a testament to our regional cooperative efforts to use every tool available for the good of our neighborhoods.”

Ms. Brunner stressed that the Hamilton County Landbank is very interested in continuing to hear from neighborhood leadership throughout the county on specific properties that would qualify for demolition. “We’re looking for single-family and four-unit residential properties that are vacant and blighted – we welcome a phone call or an email with good candidates for this program.” Ms. Brunner says the Hamilton County Landbank expects to have acquired 300 properties by the end of 2016 for demolition under NIP.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury allocated $570.4 million of Hardest Hit Funds to OHFA in 2010 to administer the state’s foreclosure prevention program, Save the Dream Ohio, and has since approved the use of $79 million for NIP. Funding for this round of NIP will utilize recycled Hardest Hit Funds and awards from land banks that have not met minimum property acquisition requirements.

According to a recently released demolition impact study, the statewide impact from OHFA NIP is estimated at $121.4 million in home value protection with a demolition cost of more than $28.2 million (2,248 demolitions total), or $4.30 in increased home values for every dollar spent.

“Removing blighted, abandoned properties across our county is helping to stabilize neighborhoods, combat crime and improve property values,” said Hamilton County Commissioner Dennis Deters.

The NIP guidelines can be found here.

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