Ohio Attorney General DeWine announced that his Demolition Grant Program has surpassed 6,000 properties demolished.
DeWine provided an update on the program as part of a keynote address at a neighborhood revitalization conference in Columbus, "Revitalizing Ohio's Vacant Properties: Tools and Policies to Transform Communities," sponsored by the Greater Ohio Policy Center and Thriving Communities Institute.
“The foreclosure crisis is not just about losing homes; it’s about losing entire communities,” DeWine said. “By tearing down houses, we are building neighborhoods. We are opening up land to stop the decline in property values, stimulate many types of economic development, and help our neighborhoods grow and prosper.”
Announced by Attorney General Mike DeWine in February 2012, the Demolition Grant Program helps stabilize and improve communities by removing blighted and abandoned homes with funds from the National Mortgage Settlement. DeWine set aside $75 million for demolition grants, allocating funds according to the percentage of foreclosures that occurred in each county from 2008 to 2010. Matching funds were required for all grant dollars greater than $500,000, and all 88 counties made grant allocation requests.
To date, the program has issued $28,407,415.44 in reimbursement grants for local demolitions. This has resulted in the demolition of 6,002 separately addressed properties, including 2,581 in Cuyahoga County, 559 in Lucas County, and 455 in Summit County.
Counties have until May 31, 2014 to use their initial allocations. To date, three counties have already completed use of their allocations: Fulton, Mercer, and Pickaway.
DeWine will be attending a demolition in Adams County on Wednesday to promote the program. The Adams County demolition will allow for an expansion of the Adams County Heritage Center.
Under DeWine's leadership, Ohio was commended as the largest state to use 100 percent of its mortgage settlement dollars on housing and related programs, according to a report by the Enterprise Foundation. While many large states used their settlement funds to plug budget holes, Ohio was commended in the report for both devoting the entire settlement to housing related programs as intended by the settlement and for beginning to disburse funds in a timely manner.