Rep. Morrison: Local lawmaker announces funding increase to rebuild Hoosier communities

Posted by: Jessica Baker  | Tuesday, February 4, 2014

STATEHOUSE – At the Statehouse, State Representative Alan Morrison (R-Terre Haute) joined Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann in announcing the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s (USDOT) decision to allow a $75 million to go to the Blight Elimination Program. Using a portion of the Hardest Hit Fund (HFF), the dollars would help any municipality or local unit of government remove abandoned or blighted properties throughout Indiana.

“After the housing market crash, homeowners nationwide were struggling to pay their mortgages, and unfortunately, many homes in Indiana, roughly 5,000, were abandoned,” said Rep. Morrison. “Vacant or deteriorating properties can negatively affect our communities by posing a safety concern, bring down property values and be extremely costly to remove. I am pleased that the Department of the Treasury allowed Indiana to use dollars from the Hardest Hit Fund in order to remove these properties which will rebuild communities and benefit Hoosier families.”

The USDOT’s decision came from a proposal made by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), chaired by the Lt. Gov. Ellsepermann. The IHCDA sought to utilize $75 million from the HFF, which would go to the Blight Elimination Program, to prevent foreclosures and stabilize property values by eliminating homes that have been vacated or irreversibly damage.

According to the IHCDA website, Indiana has roughly 5,000 abandoned homes due to foreclosure alone. With this $75 million going to the Blight Elimination Program, approximately 4,000 of Indiana’s abandoned properties could be removed.

“Blighted homes drain our neighborhoods, communities and businesses of valuable resources,” said Lt. Gov. Ellspermann. “The Blight Elimination Program will provide funds to address problematic homes, stabilizing property values, improving public safety and bolstering civic pride.”

Any municipality wishing to receive these funds needs to submit an application to the IHCDA based on which funding division the county falls into. There are six divisions total which are categorized by population size. A municipality will not be awarded funds without applying.

Applications for the first funding division will be accepted Feb. 2014 in which communities wishing to apply must include the following five items:
• A full and complete list of all properties the municipality seeks to demolish.
• The end use of each lot post demolition.
• Estimates from licensed contractors which include legal removal of all debris and the backfill of basements or cellars using clean fill dirt.
• Financial and service contributions from community or neighborhood partners.
• Community contributions to facilitate the demolition project.

Visit www.877GetHope.org/blight to learn more about the Blight Elimination Program or to find information on the funding divisions and the Site Evaluation Matrix.

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