January 30, 2012 [Katherine Bulava, Colinwood Observer]
In 2010, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Cuyahoga Land Bank came to a groundbreaking agreement: HUD would transfer low-value, vacant and abandoned properties to the Cuyahoga Land Bank for $100. This agreement has been renewed once again through September 30, 2014.
Properties acquired from HUD are lower-value properties appraised at $20,000 or below. Such properties come under the ownership of HUD as a result of mortgage foreclosures guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
This partnership remains essential to the stabilization of Cuyahoga County’s neighborhoods through the repurposing of distressed properties. Once properties are acquired, the Cuyahoga Land Bank evaluates all properties, demolishes those that are beyond repair and preserves those homes that can be renovated through the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s Deed in Escrow program.
“This collaboration with the Cuyahoga Land Bank will help stem home price declines as we work to make these houses homes again,” said HUD’s Cheryl Walker, REO Division Director for HUD’s Philadelphia office. “This partnership is about stabilizing neighborhoods and preventing these homes from becoming blighted.”
“The relationship with HUD is helping us stabilize our communities,” said Gus Frangos, President of the Cuyahoga Land Bank. “We are grateful to continue the partnership.”
To date, the Cuyahoga Land Bank has acquired approximately 3,500 properties overall and is about to demolish its 2,200th property. Over 1,400 of the vacant lots created by demolition have been transferred to city land banks for neighborhood side yard expansions, community gardens, and economic development opportunities. Additionally, the Cuyahoga Land Bank has also successfully facilitated the renovation of nearly 725 properties by private owners, using private dollars.