YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Mahoning and Trumbull counties’ land banks are receiving more than $13 million for the demolition of blighted, vacant and abandoned homes.
The Mahoning County Land Bank is getting $6.89 million, and the Trumbull County Land Reutilization Corporation is also receiving $6.5 million.
Leaders in Trumbull County say the money will go to good use, helping to get rid of several of Warren’s vacant properties.
The demolitions, which will take place throughout the next three years, are being funded through reimbursements from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA).
OFHA administers programs to support quality, affordable housing. The funding was announced on Wednesday as part of money through the state’s Hardest Hit Fund.
Dorothy Rivera lives across the street from a vacant home on South Street — one of the couple dozen vacant properties in Warren that are set for demo this summer.
“You see ’em all over Warren, and it just makes all the neighborhoods, they think people are just trash that lives in this area because of the trashy stuff and we’re not,” she said.
Matt Martin, executive director of the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, said the vacant homes pose safety concerns and lower property values. But now, thanks to the money coming in, a third of the city’s 1,500 vacant homes will be coming down.
“It’s reimbursable across the next three years, so we have to do the work first and then we get paid back by the state,” Martin said.
The money is allocated to the land bank, which means before they can tear a house down, they have to own the property first.
“If we could get folks to proactively donate the property instead of having to allow government to go through this long and arduous process of tax foreclosure, we could get through these a lot quicker and we could do a lot more,” Martin said.
Once the properties are torn down, the Trumbull County Land Bank gives neighbors the opportunity to buy the property for a couple hundred dollars or lets the community turn it into a garden or park.