COLUMBUS, OH –U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown joined U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman to highlight construction at the Commons at Third project today. Brown, Donovan, and Coleman toured the project funded through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) which is aimed at revitalizing neighborhoods hardest-hit by the foreclosure crisis.
“By rebuilding neighborhoods devastated by the economic crisis, we will improve surrounding property values, create new jobs, and foster long-term economic growth,” Brown said. “Project Rebuild would put vacant properties to good use and target funds to the hardest-hit communities so we can jump start economic growth and strengthen our communities.”
“The State of Ohio has received over $485 million in previous neighborhood stabilization efforts, and could stand to receive over $577 million when the American Jobs Act and Project Rebuild is passed by Congress. Our previous neighborhood stabilization efforts have worked as evidenced by the 90 workers that the Commons at Third project has employed, and we can continue to put more people to work revitalizing homes and businesses that were once foreclosed,” said Donovan.
Brown outlined the success of neighborhood stabilization efforts and gave an overview of how the American Jobs Act could continue to develop neighborhoods, create jobs, and grow local economies throughout Columbus. Building on the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), Project Rebuild incorporates new elements such as the inclusion of revitalization of commercial properties and partnerships with for-profit organizations. These additions to an already successful program will help create more jobs and have a much more immediate impact to the local economy.
Project Rebuild will create nearly 200,000 jobs, and at the same time stabilize home prices in neighborhoods hard hit by foreclosures. Previous neighborhood stabilization efforts enacted by Congress over the last three years since the housing crisis began are on track to support nearly 90,000 jobs and address more than 95,000 vacant and abandoned properties.
If approved by Congress, Project Rebuild would invest $15 billion in proven strategies that leverage private capital and expertise to rehabilitate hundreds of thousands of properties in communities across the country. Building on the successful ideas developed during the implementation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Project (NSP), Project Rebuild would include the following innovative ideas:
- Allow for the revitalization of commercial properties
- Include For-Profit Entities to Gain Expertise, Leverage Federal Dollars and Speed Program Implementation
- Increase Support for “Land Banking”
- Create Jobs Maintaining Properties and Avoiding Community Blight
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 NSP. 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.
Brown fought for the creation of the NSP in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and the continuation of the program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). 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 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 Sec. Donovan in support of Ohio applicants to the second wave of funding through the NSP program. In Jan. 2010, Brown joined U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan to announce that the City of Columbus received $23.8 million in ARRA funding.
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 HUD targeted toward cities and metropolitan areas experiencing large-scale property vacancy and abandonment due to long-term employment and population losses.