Congresswoman Fudge Supports HUD-Landbank Agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reached an agreement with the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation (Land Bank) that will enable the Land Bank to purchase foreclosed homes for as little as $100. This agreement expands a successful program already in place in Cleveland, in which HUD transferred 441 foreclosed homes to the City in a little over a year.

Working with area mayors through the First Suburbs Consortium, Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) began advocating for the program’s expansion early in 2009.

“Our kids deserve better than abandoned buildings and our communities should be free from blight. It’s both a safety and a beautification issue,” said Congresswoman Fudge. “The Land Bank’s agreement will help community leaders address these issues to restore our neighborhoods. I’m pleased HUD’s program puts our neighborhoods first and keeps foreclosed properties out of the hands of flippers and speculators who perpetuate the cycle of urban decay and neglect.”

Euclid Mayor Bill Cervenik, Chairman of the Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium (NEO-FSC) noted, “When the sixteen member communities of [NEO-FSC] came to Congresswoman Fudge for assistance to negotiate an agreement with HUD, back in the spring of 2009, she immediately stepped into action. Within weeks, a meeting was called by the Congresswoman with local, regional and federal level HUD representatives and the then-stagnant ball immediately began to roll. She was able to move the discussions farther in one month than we had in seven.”

Under the agreement, HUD will give the Land Bank an exclusive opportunity to purchase properties at a deep discount, depending on the home’s appraised value. With the ability to purchase homes in bulk, local governments now have a tool to accelerate efforts to address high concentrations of foreclosed and abandoned homes.

“Cities in my district have been at a distinct disadvantage, unable to outbid speculators for hundreds of vacant homes, many of which are in serious disrepair. Without this program, those structures would remain empty for years instead of being rehabbed for new families to move in or in the worst cases, torn down. CCLRC (the Land Bank) can now acquire these homes and speed up the recovery of neighborhoods devastated by the housing crisis,” said Congresswoman Fudge.

The agreement follows a $41 million award to the Land Bank earlier this year through the Recovery Act’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program.