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REVITALIZING OUR COMMUNITIES

This morning, Reps Fudge and LaTourette hosted a press conference in Cleveland to introduce the Restore Our Neighborhoods Act of 2012, HR 4210.  The bill establishes a bond program to finance demolitions to eliminate blight and curb crime as well as aid the recovery of property value for homeowners, especially those who don't want to leave their neighborhoods.  The bonds will encourage public-private partnerships and provide interest free dollars for demolition that can be used for commercial and residential demolition.   Many supporters joined the members, including Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson; Jim Rokakis, Director of Thriving Communities Institute; Gus Frangos, President of the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corp.; Cleveland Councilman Tony Brancatelli, Ward 12; and officials from other Ohio cities.  We can revitalize our neighborhoods and it can start now.

The event was held at 3445 East 69th Street (pictured above), one block from where a 19-year-old mother and her one-year-old daughter were abducted and killed in in a vacant garage last month.

View Photos here.

Read more here:

Plain Dealer: Cleveland, Cuyahoga County allocate $14 million for demolition of blighted homes, hope for federal match

...The county could also see some federal dollars coming its way to battle the problem of abandoned homes. On Thursday, U.S. Reps. Steve LaTourette, a Republican, and Marcia Fudge, a Democrat, announced plans to propose legislation that would create a bond program to finance demolition of blighted buildings. A news conference is slated for Monday in Cleveland.

WTAM: Funding demolition of vacant and abandoned homes

Congressman Steve LaTourette and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge have come together to try and get rid of some of the vacant and abandoned homes in northeast Ohio. LaTourette and Fudge introduced legislation called "Restore our Neighborhood Act of 2012" during a press conference Monday afternoon at E.69th north of Union Avenue. This is a block away from where a mother and her one year old daughter were abducted and killed in a vacant garage last month. The bipartisan legislation provides $4 billion for states and established land banks to issue 30-year demolition bonds to demolish homes across the country. Bonds would be divided into two pots: $2 billion divided equally among states and $2 billion for the states hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. Ohio and several other states would qualify as hard hit. "The intention is to halt a tsunami of blight that is ruining once stable neighborhoods one home and one street at a time by focusing on properties that are beyond repair," says LaTourette. Many of these homes are safety hazards and drag down property values for nearby homeowners. There are 26,000 vacant homes in Cuyahoga County and in Akron there are about 2,300.

WOIO: U.S. Reps unveil bipartisan legislation to fund demo of abandoned homes

Conservative estimates claim there are 26,000 abandoned homes in Cuyahoga County and at least 15,000 are beyond repair and need to be torn down. "It just makes sense people in this neighborhood won't get relief until these eyesores are removed," said Congressman Steve LaTourette. As usual, it comes down to money and it's not available, so Congressman LaTourette and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge are co-sponsoring bi-partisan legislation that hits the house floor Monday night that would issue bonds to land banks for demolition. "States like Florida and Nevada may have eclipsed us in foreclosures late into the housing crisis but if you look around you this is the epicenter," said Congresswoman Fudge. Abandoned houses falling down is beyond just being a problem in many Cleveland neighborhoods and unless something is done and something is done soon whole neighborhoods will be destroyed. "These blighted structures are a disease that infects the entire neighborhood good people who diligently pay their mortgages are affected because they see their property values plummet," Fudge said.

Crain's Cleveland: Reps. Fudge, LaTourette plan to seek $4 billion for razing abandoned properties

Two Northeast Ohio members of Congress said today they will introduce a bill this evening in the House of Representatives when they return to Washington that would make $4 billion available to the states to help communities swamped by the need to demolish vacant and abandoned properties. Standing in front of three abandoned homes on East 69th Street in Cleveland's Slavic Village, U.S. Reps. Marcia Fudge of Warrensville Heights and Steve LaTourette of Lake County said the Restore Our Neighborhoods Act of 2012 would allow states and land banks to issue 30-year demolition bonds to help speed the demolition of crumbling residential and commercial properties. “The need for demolition of blighted structures is clearly beyond what any community can handle alone,” said Rep. Fudge, a Democrat. “We need innovative solutions to what has become a national problem.”

The News Herald: LaTourette, Fudge sponsor bill to provide $4 billion to demolish abandoned homes

U.S. Reps. Steven C. LaTourette and Marcia Fudge announced they are sponsoring legislation to provide $4 billion in federal funding dedicated for demolition of vacant and abandoned homes across the country. LaTourette, R-Bainbridge Township, said the dollars would be divided into two pots — $2 billion to be spread to all the states (roughly about $40 million per state) and $2 billion intended for areas more hard hit by the foreclosure and housing crisis. Ohio and several other states would qualify as hard-hit states based on unemployment, increases in vacant housing, foreclosure rates and other factors, LaTourette said. He said the Restore our Neighborhoods Act of 2012 is modeled after a similar program in Michigan where funding was provided to take down blighted properties that weren’t worth repairing and the property tax values in the region dramatically increased and it added $200 million to the tax duplicates.

Cleveland Scene: Stop the Presses: Republican & Democrat Do Something Together to Address Actual Problem!

This morning, area politicians, media and interested citizens descended on a quiet side street off Union Avenue in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood to hear two northeast Ohio congresspeople from opposite parties announce they were actually going to do something to help citizens with a real problem they face; foreclosure and the way it’s decimated once-stable residential areas — like Slavic Village. Standing in front of a group of abandoned, ravaged houses, Congressman Steve LaTourette, a Republican from Lake County, and Congresswomen Marcia Fudge, a Democrat from Warrensville Heights, unveiled legislation they said had been in the oven since last fall. The so-called “Restore Our Neighborhoods Act” would provide $4 billion in funding to finance bonds to pay for the demolition of crumbling homes that diminish the value of well-kept houses on the street, where neighbors sat on doorstops and eyed the influx of visitors curiously. Of that, $2 billion will be divided among all states, with the remaining $2 billion going into the hardest-hit states including Ohio. Presumably, LaTourette and Fudge would work to see that much of that comes to northeast Ohio, to areas like Slavic Village.

WEWS: U.S. Representatives LaTourette, Fudge Introduce Legislation to Fund Home Demolitions

U.S. Representatives Steven LaTourette (R-OH) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) stood in front of two vacant homes on Cleveland's eastside, and unveiled the Restore our Neighborhoods Act of 2012. The bipartisan legislation would create $4 billion in funds to help cities demolish thousands of vacant and abandoned homes, allowing states and established land banks to issue 30-year demolition bonds. The Qualified Urban Demolition Bonds would be used for qualified demolition projects, with $2 billion divided equally among all states, and the other $2 billion issued to states like Ohio that have been hardest hit. "It would be our goal to get the bill out of both the Senate and the House, and onto President Obama's desk by the July recess if we can," said LaTourette. "Our Ohio Senators are both on-board, so they'll take care of shepherding it in the Senate for us." Congresswoman Marcia Fudge wasn't concerned about finding enough votes to get the bill passed. "I'm going to get a clipboard and I'm going to put the bill on it," said Fudge. "I'm going to walk the bill around the floor, and say you need to sign onto this bill to save your communities."

Ohio News Network: Ohio Lawmakers Tackle Abandoned Home Problem

"These blighted structure are a disease that infect the entire neighborhood," said U.S. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge. Fudge and Congressman Steve Latourette are trying to keep property values up for people like Reed. They announced a plan that would give states millions of dollars to knock down empty homes. Tax credit bonds would be issued to the state, investors would buy those bonds and millions of dollars would be made available for demolition. "For these folks that live on the street and want to be in a safe neighborhood where they can actually have some value in their home, it's the right thing to do," said LaTourette. Officials told ONN's Cristin Severance that there are 10,000 vacant homes in Cleveland waiting to be torn down, but there is no money to do so.