Portman tours Warren, touts bill on housing demolition funds

Portman tours Warren, touts bill on housing demolition funds

WARREN — U.S. Sen. Rob Portman visited Warren today to tout a bill he is sponsoring that would allow municipalities and land banks to use federal money to demolish vacant properties.

Portman, a Republican, and Warren Mayor Doug Franklin, a Democrat, joined members of the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership to tour an area on the city’s northeast side that is in need of money to demolish dilapidated houses.

Portman’s bill would permit Ohio to use a portion of the $570 million in federal funding the state received from the Hardest Hit Fund to demolish vacant and abandoned homes. The fund is intended to provide money to those losing their homes to foreclosure.

There is a companion bill in the U.S. House co-sponsored by a majority of the Ohio delegation to the House, including U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-13th, and Bill Johnson of Marietta, R-6th.

Vacant houses drive down the property value of neighborhoods and can lead to increased crime, Portman said.

Portman said he is hopeful he can get an amendment to a bill to include Ohio’s flexibility to spend Hardest Hit money on demolitions.

There are about 100,000 vacant homes in Ohio, including about 4,000 to 5,000 in Youngstown and about 1,000 in Warren.

For the complete story, read Friday’s Vindicator and Vindy.com

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