$1M on way to tackle urban blight

Sandusky Register

Neighborhood eyesores will soon get some salve.

Sandusky, plagued with 240 abandoned houses, and Erie County, hit hard by the mortgage foreclosure crisis, are getting help from Washington D.C.

The housing crisis bill President George Bush signed last week will send about $1 million to Erie County to help local governments rescue neighborhoods by restoring or tearing down homes abandoned by residents who couldn't keep up with their loan terms.

Erie County is supposed to receive the money in about three months, with much of it expected to be earmarked for Sandusky.

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, as the bill was dubbed, also provides $15 billion in tax breaks, including a $7,500 tax credit for first-time home buyers.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has called particular attention to the neighborhood stabilization projects money, which allows local governments to buy, renovate or tear down foreclosed homes. Critics of the program have said it uses taxpayer money to bail out imprudent lenders.

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