Following Toledo Blade Report on City’s Abandoned Home Crisis, Brown Raises Concerns With Federal Housing Administration Nominee, Renews Call to Pass Project Rebuild


Brown Cites Toledo Blade Report That Toledo Will Raze a Record Number of Abandoned Homes This Year; Project Rebuild Builds Upon Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) Funds to Revitalize Neighborhoods With High Numbers of Abandoned Homes

Carol Galante is President Obama’s Nominee to Head the Federal Housing Administration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 14, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Following a report in the Toledo Blade showing that the City of Toledo is on track to raze a record number of abandoned houses this year, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) renewed his call for Congress to pass Project Rebuild, a key component of the American Jobs Act that is aimed at revitalizing neighborhoods hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. Brown also raised the abandoned home crisis in a meeting today with Federal Housing Administration (FHA) commissioner nominee Carol Galante. Galante was nominated by President Obama to serve as FHA commissioner in October.

“Toledo has been hit hard by the foreclosure crisis, with the city of track to demolish a record number of vacant homes this year. It’s evident that Toledo needs additional support to weather this economic crisis,” Brown said. “I raised the issue of Toledo’s abandoned homes today with Carol Galante because I need to know that this is the kind of issue she will work to address should she be confirmed to serve as the Federal Housing Administration’s commissioner.

“The Blade’s report also underscores the need to build upon the work made possible through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. By rebuilding neighborhoods devastated by the economic crisis—in Toledo and across Ohio—we can improve surrounding property values, create new jobs, and foster long-term economic growth,” Brown added. “Project Rebuild, part of the American Jobs Act, would put vacant properties to good use and target funds to the hardest-hit communities so we can jump start economic growth and strengthen our communities.”

Building on the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), Project Rebuild—part of the American Jobs Act—incorporates new elements such as the inclusion of and revitalization of commercial properties and partnerships with for-profit organizations. Project Rebuild will create nearly 200,000 jobs, and at the same time stabilize home prices in neighborhoods hard hit by foreclosures. Previous neighborhood stabilization efforts enacted by Congress over the last three years since the housing crisis began are on track to support nearly 90,000 jobs and address more than 95,000 vacant and abandoned properties. Brown recently joined U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan in Columbus to discuss Project Rebuild.

If approved by Congress, Project Rebuild would invest $15 billion in proven strategies that leverage private capital and expertise to rehabilitate hundreds of thousands of properties in communities across the country. Building on the successful ideas developed during the implementation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Project (NSP), Project Rebuild would include the following innovative ideas:

Allow for the revitalization of commercial properties

Include For-Profit Entities to Gain Expertise, Leverage Federal Dollars and Speed Program Implementation

Increase Support for “Land Banking”

Create Jobs Maintaining Properties and Avoiding Community Blight

Brown fought for the creation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), aimed at revitalizing neighborhoods that have been hit hard by the foreclosure crisis, in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and the continuation of the program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). It is estimated that each dollar in NSP funding has more than twice the economic impact due to a multiplier effect generated through new jobs and rehabilitated housing. In September 2008, Brown announced that Ohio communities would receive more than $258 million in NSP funds authorized by the housing bill. In Sep. 2009, Brown wrote to Secretary Donovan in support of Ohio applicants to the second wave of funding through the NSP program.

Brown also introduced the Community Regeneration, Sustainability and Innovation Act of 2009 with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Brian Higgins (D-NY). This legislation would create a new, competitive grant program within the HUD targeted toward cities and metropolitan areas experiencing large-scale property vacancy and abandonment due to long-term employment and population losses.

The Federal Housing Administration provides mortgage insurance on loans made by FHA-approved lenders throughout the United States and its territories. FHA insures mortgages on single family and multifamily homes including manufactured homes and hospitals. It is the largest insurer of mortgages in the world, insuring over 34 million properties since its inception in 1934.

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