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The Scoop

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Verbatim: Fort Wayne wins share of $6.3 million to fight blight

Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann's office issued this news release today:

Indianapolis – Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann today announced that two Indiana cities received a combined award of more than $6.3 million to help eliminate blighted and abandoned homes in those communities through the Hardest Hit Fund Blight Elimination Program (BEP). The two cities receiving awards are Fort Wayne and South Bend. They are the successful applicants in the second of six rounds of funding that will make a total of $75 million available for blight elimination to reduce foreclosures and stabilize property values.

The Blight Elimination Program provides an opportunity for local units of government in all 92 Indiana counties to compete for funding to eliminate blighted, vacant and abandoned homes and decrease foreclosures.

“As Indiana moves forward with the second round of funding for the Blight Elimination Program, I am pleased that we will be able to assist Ft. Wayne and South Bend officials in revitalizing and redeveloping targeted areas within their communities,” said Lt. Governor Ellspermann.

“Neighborhoods across Indiana that have been struggling with the damaging effects caused by vacant and abandoned properties will soon see the benefit of these federal funds,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Domestic Finance Mary Miller. “We believe this program is a critical step in preventing foreclosures by reducing blight in our communities and hope these efforts help stabilize neighborhoods for years to come.”

The Blight Elimination Program funds will be drawn from the $221.7 million Hardest Hit Fund money allocated to Indiana. In February 2014, the U.S. Department of the Treasury approved the use of $75 million of Indiana’s Hardest Hit Funds by Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) for successful BEP applicants. The partnership between IHCDA and Treasury allows IHCDA to provide funding to local units of government to eliminate blighted properties and offer a variety of end uses for the newly cleared parcels, such as green space or redevelopment. The Blight Elimination Program is not a grant program. The program is a loan program that allows IHCDA to make funding available to successful applicants. The loans will then be restructured as forgivable loans using Hardest Hit Funds.

“We want to congratulate the cities of Ft. Wayne and South Bend on their successful applications,” said Mark Neyland, IHCDA Director of Asset Preservation, who supervises Indiana’s Hardest Hit Fund Program. “These awards will help eliminate blighted properties in dozens of neighborhoods. Local residents in those neighborhoods can look forward to seeing blighted properties replaced with green spaces and other productive end uses.”

The State of Indiana has been divided into six funding divisions. Any local unit of government wishing to apply for funds to eliminate blighted homes must do so to IHCDA by their division deadline. Applicants will apply for funds from the funding division in which their county is located. The application deadlines for divisions one, two and three have passed. Lt. Governor Ellspermann announced awards for five division one cities, including East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, Indianapolis and Lawrence on May 22, 2014. Division three awards will be announced in late July.

IHCDA estimates that approximately 4,000 blighted and/or abandoned homes in Indiana will be eliminated through the Blight Elimination Program. Interested local government officials should visit www.877GetHope.org/blight to learn more and apply.

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