Working for neighborhood stability

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Working for neighborhood stability

Enquirer – A recent Enquirer article noted that Cincinnati homeowners are forced to shoulder the burden of preventing neighborhood blight and crime as a result of neglected, bank-owned foreclosed houses (“Cincinnati suing banks over empty eyesores,” June 27). They are not alone as I have heard from mayors and local leaders from around the state about the high costs of maintaining vacant properties and the strain it creates on their budgets.

After a series of Ohio news reports documenting banks and lending agencies foreclosing on homes, only to abandon them — needlessly evicting families and leaving communities on the hook for bank-owned property — I requested an investigation by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. The report, unveiled in early June, highlighted the danger of so-called “bank walkways” — when banks and lending agencies have abandoned foreclosed homes rather than put them on the market. The report found that half of bank walkaways are located in three Midwestern states, including Ohio.

My staff visited the Cincinnati and Washington Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offices concerning this problem, which is why I wrote to the Federal Housing Commissioner to address the troubling states of disrepair of many HUD real estate owned properties in Cincinnati.

The need to strengthen our communities is why I fought for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act and introduced the Community Regeneration, Sustainability, and Innovation (CRSI) Act, which would help communities develop plans to revitalize and utilize vacant and abandoned houses that diminish property values.

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