Bill to Eliminate Neighborhood Blight in Cities Across the Country Finds Bipartisan Support
This week, U.S. Representative Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and U.S. Representative David McKinley, R-W.V., introduced the Clean Up Our Neighborhoods Act of 2019, authorizing the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to make grants to states to eliminate residential and commercial blight and assist in neighborhood revitalization.
“There are currently 1.3 million vacant homes in America, including thousands in Midwest communities like Youngstown, Akron, Detroit, and Flint,” Ryan said in a statement announcing the legislation. “Our ultimate goal must be to completely eliminate blight from our neighborhoods and this bill is a big step in that direction. The cost of abandoned buildings and vacant lots cannot be overstated. Abandoned structures account for $777 million in fire-related property losses each year, not to mention thousands of dollars in decreased property values for neighboring homeowners.”
Grant-eligible activities include boarding up vacant properties, demolishing or renovating blighted structures, clearing and maintaining vacant land, and stabilizing activities that provide open green space for public access and redevelopment. States must match 15 percent of the grant amount.
“Neighborhood blight can also lead to negative public health and social outcomes. Abandoned structures can become physical spaces for criminal activity, drug use, and gun violence,” Ryan continued. “Studies link blighted properties to higher rates of childhood lead poisoning, chronic illness, mental distress, and premature mortality. A nation as wealthy as ours cannot be content to see some communities thrive, while others are scarred by fear, hopelessness, and neglect. It’s time to put the resources of the federal government to work addressing this large-scale problem.”
“Abandoned buildings and vacant lots are an eyesore, negatively impact economic development, and the quality of life in our communities,” Representative McKinley said. “This bill will provide more resources to empower rural and urban communities alike to mitigate these unsightly areas, which will improve our neighborhoods and give a boost to revitalization efforts.”Full text of the legislation can be found here.
In The News
This week, U.S. Representative Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and U.S. Representative David McKinley, R-W.V., introduced the Clean Up Our Neighborhoods Act of 2019, authorizing the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to make grants to states to eliminate residential and commercial blight and assist in neighborhood revitalization.... Read More
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