Correction: A previous version of this story indicated the state could use the funds to rehabilitate old homes. However, the state is only seeking to use the funds to demolish homes, not to rehab them.
State officials in Indiana are considering using federal dollars to demolish abandoned homes in the state. The money will come from the Hardest Hit Fund—a fund established to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.
Lieutenant Gov. Sue Ellspermann, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, and state legislators want to use money from the Hardest Hit Fund to tear down homes that are beyond repair.
IHCDA Director of Asset Preservation Mark Neyland says by eliminating blighted properties the surrounding home values should stabilize and increase as the abandoned properties are redeveloped.
“We are approaching this with a very open-minded approach. We are looking to spread the funds and use the funds as effectively as possible to eliminate blight across the state whether it be in large municipalities, medium, small-sized cities, or even rural areas.”
Neyland says most of the money in the Hardest Hit Fund will still be used to help homeowners who are facing foreclosure, but he says demolishing old homes that have already been foreclosed is key to improving quality of life on a broader scale.
“I think the other immediate impacts are on neighborhood safety, to eliminate potential sources of crime, and other unwanted aspects. They become potentially dangerous properties for children going to and from school or playing within the neighborhood.”
Representatives plan to hold meetings around the state, seeking input from individuals and local officials on how the state should prioritize projects and funding.