U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced that the Omnibus Appropriations bill being considered in the Senate includes funding for new opportunities to help Ohio, Michigan, and other states impacted by the housing crisis revitalize their neighborhoods. It does this by giving Treasury the flexibility to transfer as much as $2 billion to the Hardest Hit Fund, which focuses on demolishing vacant and blighted structures which pose a growing threat to the public safety and economic well-being of our communities.
“Over the years, I have worked with local Ohio communities to help deal with this issue of abandoned homes,” Portman stated. “We’re all concerned about communities that have blighted properties because they tend to be magnets for crime and hurt home values. This bill is a step in the right direction because it will allow Ohio communities to tear down these houses and restore the integrity of their communities.”
Portman has long fought for the ability for Ohio communities to tap into additional funds to demolish vacant, blighted structures, which pose a growing threat to the public safety and economic well-being of our communities. In 2013, Portman introduced the Neighborhood Safety Act to allow states to use resources from the Hardest Hit Fund to tackle this problem. Ohio has over 80,000 vacant properties awaiting demolition, posing a significant risk to public safety and drastically decreasing the value of surrounding properties. Municipalities and local land banks have worked collaboratively to demolish vacant properties, but with municipal budgets already stretched, there is little money available.