$60 million slated for demolitions

Portman blight bill
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman is pushing legislation that will provide money for areas to demolish homes.

Ohio has received federal approval to spend a portion of its remaining foreclosure crisis funds to demolish nearly 5,000 vacant and abandoned homes statewide.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency says the effort is intended to stabilize local property values, address neighborhood blight and prevent future foreclosures.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury okayed use of $60 million of $270 million remaining in state Hardest Hit Funds for the effort.

The agency originally received $570 million in 2010 for its foreclosure prevention program, Save the Dream Ohio.

The newly released funds will be available on a competitive basis to the 16 Ohio counties that have an established land bank. The maximum amount available per property is $25,000.

The program is expected to begin early next year and last through 2015.

Both Trumbull and Mahoning counties have land banks. Land banks also assess properties slated for demolition to see if they can be renovated and inhabited. Just two weeks ago, the Mahoning County Land Bank unveiled its newest project. An open house was held to show off renovations to a home at 1815 Canfield Road. Upgrades include a new roof, plumbing and paint job.The house was donated to the Land Bank by Wells Fargo.

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