WASHINGTON, D.C. -U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited Columbus today to highlight improvements made to a Columbus neighborhood through Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds. This program is aimed at revitalizing neighborhoods hardest-hit by the foreclosure crisis. The NSP provides communities with the resources to purchase and rehabilitate vacant homes and convert them to affordable housing.
"In these new buildings and homes, we're seeing how Columbus and its residents are using federal funding to attract businesses, families, and young people to the neighborhood," Brown said. "It's absolutely critical that Ohio families and communities benefit from the Recovery Act - including NSP funds."
Sen. Brown was joined by Amy Klaben, President and C.E.O. of the Columbus Housing Partnership, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and other central Ohio elected officials to cut the ribbon on one of eight homes newly-built with NSP funds. Located at 276 N. 21st Street, the house is one of eight new builds located in the North of Broad (NOBO) neighborhood in the King-Lincoln District that has been completed.
The NOBO neighborhood has also received improved street lighting, sidewalks, restored sandstone curbs and a section of N. 21st Street between Long Street and Mount Vernon Avenue was paved with an asphalt mix containing recycled tire scraps - making it the first green residential street in the city.
Brown has been a long-time advocate for the revitalization of Columbus neighborhoods. He visited the N. 21st neighborhood in June 2008 to tour a rehabbed home and call for the creation of efforts like the NSP program. While visiting the block that has been particularly hard hit by the housing crisis, Brown discussed federal legislation that would help homeowners avoid foreclosure and revitalize struggling communities.
The NSP program was created in 2008 to help communities renovate homes or tear down blighted properties. It is estimated that each dollar in NSP funding has more than twice the economic impact due to a multiplier effect generated through new jobs and rehabilitated housing. In January 2010, Sen. Brown joined U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan to announce that the City of Columbus received $23.8 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding.
Brown is a leading proponent of providing assistance to communities affected by the housing crisis and population loss. He fought for the creation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and the continuation of the program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. In Sep. 2008, Brown announced that Ohio communities would receive more than $258 million in NSP funds authorized by the housing bill. In Sep. 2009, Brown wrote to Secretary Donovan in support of Ohio applicants to the second wave of funding through the NSP program.
Brown also introduced the Community Regeneration, Sustainability and Innovation Act of 2009 with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Brian Higgins (D-NY). This legislation would create a new, competitive grant program within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) targeted toward cities and metropolitan areas experiencing large-scale property vacancy and abandonment due to long-term employment and population losses.