OHFA Expands Foreclosure Prevention Efforts to Demolish Ohio’s Vacant and Abandoned Properties

COLUMBUS – August 22, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) today announced it has received approval from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to utilize up to $60 million of remaining Hardest Hit Funds (HHF) to assist with stabilizing local property values through the demolition of vacant homes across the state.

The Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP) is designed to stem the decline in home values and prevent future foreclosures of existing homeowners in communities affected negatively by vacant and abandoned properties.

“Vacant and abandoned properties are depressing home values and weakening efforts to revitalize communities across Ohio,” said Tim Massad, Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability. “That is why Treasury is pleased to help Ohio utilize the Hardest Hit Fund to address neighborhood blight and thereby prevent foreclosures and strengthen the housing recovery.”

OHFA will utilize up to $60 million of the state’s $270 million remaining uncommitted foreclosure prevention funds. The Agency was allocated $570.4 million from U.S. Treasury’s HHF to administer the state’s foreclosure prevention program, Save the Dream Ohio in 2010.

“Vacant homes, which are not maintained, put a neighborhood at risk,” said David Goodman, Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency and OHFA Board Chairman. “By taking them down, the value of the other homes is protected and the neighborhood is safer.”

NIP will be available to up to 16 Ohio counties that have an established land bank. OHFA will develop and issue a Request for Proposals from the state’s land banks in future months. The program is expected to begin in early 2014 and conclude by December 2015.

“To date, the Save the Dream Ohio program has successfully helped more than 12,000 Ohio homeowners to keep their homes,” said OHFA Executive Director Doug Garver. “NIP allows the Agency to continue assisting homeowners while redirecting a portion of funding to help stabilize home values by removing vacant housing. This will lessen the financial burden on existing homeowners and local communities struggling to maintain and preserve their neighborhoods.”

Program applicants must focus on target areas in which the demolition and greening of abandoned homes will assist in preventing a further reduction in property values and possible foreclosure of existing residential homes. Applicants will be responsible for all aspects of the property acquisition and removal as well as plans for greening and ongoing maintenance of the property. The maximum amount of assistance per property is $25,000 with an estimated average amount of assistance of $12,000. Therefore, it is estimated that nearly 5,000 vacant and abandoned homes will be demolished statewide through NIP.

Save the Dream Ohio currently offers seven programs for homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages. Homeowners may apply for assistance online at www.savethedream.ohio.gov or by calling 888-404-4674.

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About the Ohio Housing Finance Agency
OHFA is a self-supporting quasi-public agency governed by an 11 member board. The Agency uses federal and state resources to provide housing opportunities for families and individuals through programs designed to develop, preserve and sustain affordable housing throughout the state of Ohio. OHFA is also the administrator of the state’s foreclosure prevention program, Save the Dream Ohio.

Media Contact: Arlyne Alston
Email: aalston (at) ohiohome (dot) org
Phone: 614.387.2863

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