Ohio wants to demolish 100,000 homes
Cities will use part of the foreclosure settlement to bulldoze abandoned houses, which are dragging down property values. Some states want to use funds to fill budget gaps.
In Mansfield, Ohio, Herman Davis is mowing eight lawns. On his block in his town 80 miles southwest of Cleveland, 13 homes lie empty and abandoned. Citywide, about 15% of homes are vacant.
States have various plans for the $2.7 billion they expect to receive from the $25 billion foreclosure settlement between the federal and state governments and five big banks.
In Ohio, about $75 million of the state's $335 million share of the settlement will go toward demolishing homes.
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Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine estimates that the state has 100,000 homes that need to be torn down. But cash-strapped city governments don't have the money to pay for the demolition.
Cleveland has spent $42 million on demolition since 2006, but the city has many more abandoned, foreclosed buildings that should be torn down. "Our funding for demolition is in short supply," Chris Warren, chief of regional development for Cleveland's mayor, told The Plain Dealer. "The need is many, many times beyond our capacity."
Former Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis says that 30,000 condemned buildings in northeastern Ohio should be bulldozed, and that the blight is dragging down property values for everyone. Home values in Cleveland dropped below 2000 levels last year.
"After 10 years of foreclosure crisis, we have an absolutely stunning drop in property values," Rokakis told WCPO-TV. "This is not just the problem of the inner city, it's now become the problem of every homeowner in Cuyahoga County."
Cleveland sued 21 investment banks in 2008, blaming their irresponsible practices for causing blight in Ohio communities. That suit is pending.
In the meantime, one in 10 duplexes and single-homes in Cleveland is vacant, a representative of a community development agency told The Huffington Post.
While the money used to bulldoze homes won't go directly to homeowners facing foreclosure, Ohio officials argue that the demolition will help improve the property values for all residents.
In all, states will get $2.7 billion of the settlement money to help their residents deal with the foreclosure crisis. While many states are moving to use the money for housing programs, several are eying the funds as way to fill budget gaps.
Missouri is looking at its $41 million as a way to keep from raising college and university tuition, as well as make up for other state funding shortfalls. Vermont, Wisconsin, Maryland and Pennsylvania are also looking at nonhousing uses for the funds.
The shelters for homeless people gig is another fine mess we need to get into. Wanna bet the government knows how to ruin it with red tape, over-regulation and cost overruns before it gets off the ground? Then they will spend most of the budget on white collar oversight all the way to DC and leave scraps for the boots on the ground employees. The homeless will get whatever crumbs are left over on the short end of the stick. Why not take the homeless into your own home or place of worship. Save the taxes and cut out the middle man.
Do these states and their cities have any homeless people? NO?
Then go ahead and demolish away. However, if they have (as I suspect) a huge homeless population, then to use billions, millions, or even thousands of dollars to demolish even one house or apartment in order to "RAISE PROPERTY VALUES" is ludicrous, dumb even! The gigantic banks, the mortgage companies and other greedy entities can just begin again the cycle of over inflated housing prices, billions and trillions of dollars in substandard loans, then millions of foreclosures, then use the american taxpayer to bail out these greedy corporations, which then will face lawsuits, make a piddling settlement of a few billion dollars----then we can use that to pay for the demolishment of another million or so homes and apartments so that we can "RAISE THE PROPERTY VALUES" again. WHAT A GRAND PLAN!
And the poor and homeless? Don't worry, we have safety net. Excuse me, while I go barf.
God Forbid they would actually give the money to the people from whom it was stolen by the banking industry ! BANKSTERS will never be held accountable and Politicians (Criminals) will continue to fatten there own bank accounts... !
I totally agree with what cmrinseattle has said. If the government would get real and draw real salaries like everyone else has to live on things would be alot better in this country. The high and mighty need to be knocked off their high horses and brought back to the reality of this world. I just bet they sit around laughing their asses off when more people get poorer and the rich just keep getting richer. I have sent e-mails to several daring them to give up their fancy life styles and live like the rest of us for 6 months to a year. Darn sure no answers but I will keep going about with my e-mails and my dares just to see if i can get a response which I know I won't. If we the people would stand up for ourselves more someone would have to take notice!!!!!!
They should use the money to renovate those homes and provide housing for the homeless..
Do God's work and watch your state get blessed...
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.