Sen. Brown Praises New Deal between Cuyahoga County Land Bank and Feds

Sen. Brown Urged HUD to Reinstate and Expand Program to Help Revitalize Cuyahoga County Neighborhoods, Expand Local Ownership

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced a new deal between the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation (CCLRC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Brown helped facilitate communication between the county and federal government, and urged HUD to complete a deal aimed at revitalizing Cuyahoga County neighborhoods and promoting local property ownership.

"This is a victory for Cuyahoga County," said Brown, who helped facilitate communication between the county and federal government and urged HUD to reinstate the program to the CCLRC. "As we work to rebuild our communities devastated by the housing crisis, it's critical that our efforts aren't undermined by out-of-state speculators. A local response to the housing crisis is in the best interest of Ohio communities and our nation's economic recovery."

The agreement is aimed at facilitating the sale of foreclosed homes to the CCLRC for as little as $100. Under the original program, HUD gave the city or nonprofits the initial offer to buy homes valued at $20,000 or less for $100. The program resulted in the sale of approximately 440 properties. Half of the homes went to community development groups or others for rehab and the city slated more than a third for demolition. CCLRC acquired more than 50 homes.

The expanded program will offer exclusive, county-wide purchasing rights to CCLRC. Homes will be sold at a discount, depending on the home's value. Homes valued between $20,001 and $100,000 will be sold at a 30 percent discount for an initial five-day period.  After 60 days, the homes will be sold at a 50 percent discount. Homes worth up to $20,000 will be sold for $100.

Brown is a leading proponent of providing assistance to communities affected by the housing crisis and population loss. He fought for the creation of NSP 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. In Jan. 2010, Ohio communities received an additional $175 million in funds through the second wave of the program.

Following Brown's call to expand the Help for the Hardest-Hit Housing Markets (4HM) program to Ohio, the Obama administration announced that Ohio would receive an additional $172 million to help communities address the foreclosure crisis through 4HM expansion.

Brown also introduced the Community Regeneration, Sustainability and Innovation Act 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.

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