Portman pushing for funds to fight blight

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, says the state needs extra help dealing with blighted and abandoned homes and he has a plan in mind.

With thousands of abandoned properties cluttering neighborhoods in Youngstown, Warren and other communities, Portman is now pushing legislation that would change the rules for funds now earmarked to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. Portman wants lawmakers to permit some of those funds to be used to demolish inner city homes that can’t be saved, helping clean up blighted neighborhoods in the process.

“If you think about it, you’ve got four or five houses that are abandoned, that are attracting criminals and you know drug pushers and stuff. It not only makes your neighborhood really unsafe, but it also drops your property values down,” said Portman.

Portman said as much as $100 million could be made available for the state under his plan. He will attempt to attach the measure to a pending bill now being debated in Washington.

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