After Shutdown Holdup, Deal Between Feds and Land Bank Renewed

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After Shutdown Holdup, Deal Between Feds and Land Bank Renewed

December 2, 2013 [Brian Bull, WCPN]

There are still “hiccups” in the flow of federal government business after last months’ shutdown. The latest evidence is a delayed renewal between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and a northeast Ohio group that works to demolish or rehab abandoned foreclosures. ideastream’s Brian Bull explains.

Every year, HUD and the Cuyahoga Land Bank renew an agreement first set up in 2010.  It lets the land bank acquire old, foreclosed homes from HUD for $100 apiece.  The homes are then either fixed up – or more likely demolished – to help curb crime and blight in their neighborhoods.

It would’ve been business as usual this year, but the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s Chief Operating Officer, Bill Whitney, says the recent government shutdown added an extra month to the timeline.

“Technically the 2013 agreement ended in September, early October, but HUD wasn’t around!” laughs Whitney. “So it’s taken awhile to finalize the paperwork.”

Whitney says the new agreement reflects the usual renewal date, and runs through September 30th of 2014.  He says they expect to get 16 properties from HUD every month, with maybe a third of those slated for renovation, and the rest… demolition.

“Overall, people estimate anywhere between 14,000 and 18,000 homes that are blighted and need to be demolished,” says Whitney.

To date, the Cuyahoga Land Bank has acquired 3500 properties.  About 725 have been renovated with private funds.