Columbus –Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) will introduce a Senate Resolution urging the United States Congress and the United States Department of the Treasury to allocate a portion of the Hardest Hit Fund to be used for blighted property demolitions across Ohio.  

The Hardest Hit Fund, established in 2010, provides $570 million to Ohio to be used for home foreclosure prevention for homeowners in economic distress.  To date, $200 million has been used to help over 11,000 Ohio families, leaving approximately $374 million in funds that are still available. Senator Schiavoni would like to see 25% of that fund, or about $93.5 million used for demolition purposes. 

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency is currently drafting a proposal for the U.S. Department of the Treasury to request that the funds be used to demolish vacant properties. Along with the Treasury, members of Ohio’s Congressional delegation have also proposed legislation to allow for local municipalities and land banks to use Hardest Hit funds for demolitions. 

“It is my belief that a big aspect of foreclosure prevention is the remediation of the blighted, vacant properties in our neighborhoods. I support the use of a portion of these funds to strengthen our communities,” Senator Schiavoni stated.  “In recent years, we have made great progress in fighting blight in the communities across Mahoning and Columbiana counties.  Providing additional funding will help our local governments and land bank to continue to make improvements in not only our urban neighborhoods, but distressed suburban and rural areas as well.”  

There are currently over 100,000 vacant, blighted properties across Ohio hampering the safety of many neighborhoods and decreasing the values of neighboring properties. Many structures have been known to attract illicit activities, such as drug use, gang violence, and arson. 

Along with this resolution, Senator Schiavoni has introduced Senate Bill 16, which would allow for an individual to enter upon an abandoned property for the purpose of beautification without being held liable for trespassing.  He also supports the Ohio Attorney General’s “Moving Ohio Forward” initiative, which provides funding for abandoned property demolitions. 

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