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Greene Co. Receives Blighted Properties Grant
Updated October 27, 2014 6:50 AM
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(BLOOMFIELD) - Greene County has been named the recipient of $945,000 in grant awards for blighted properties.

Greene County Commissioner Rick Graves says Greene County was awarded $945,000 to demolish and cleanup 49 properties.

The Greene County Daily World reports, Indiana Lt. Governor Sue Ellsperman made the announcement through a press release on Thursday.

The county was among 23 successful applicants who received a combined total of nearly $12 million to help prevent avoidable foreclosures by eliminating blighted properties and abandoned homes in the communities involved.

"The cities and towns receiving nearly $12 million in Blight Elimination Program (BEP) funds will be able to demolish over 550 blighted properties, which will stabilize property values and help prevent foreclosures for neighboring homeowners," Ellsperman said in the press release. "The recipients, with the help of their program partners, will be able to provide much needed revitalization in their communities."

Local governments and their non-profit partners in the endeavor, are the successful applicants in the fifth and sixth rounds of the BEP. The BEP provides an opportunity for local units of government in all 92 Indiana counties to compete for a total of $75 million available for blight elimination funding.

"Cities across Indiana have been struggling with the damaging effects caused by vacant and blighted properties and will soon see the benefits of these federal funds," said Sarah Bloom Raskin, Treasury Deputy Secretary in the release. "Removing blighted properties is important in the fight to reduce foreclosures and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the State of Indiana to help stabilize hardest hit communities."

The money comes from $221.7 million in Hardest Hit Funds allocated to Indiana. In February of this year, the U.S. Department of the Treasury approved the use of $75 million of Indiana's Hardest Hit Funds by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority for successful BEP applicants.

The partnership between the IHCDA and the U.S. Treasury Department allows for funding to eliminate blighted properties and offers a variety of end uses for the newly cleared parcels, such as green space or redevelopment.

Blighted, vacant and abandoned homes are a serious issue for Hoosier homeowners, neighborhoods and communities because Indiana has the highest percentage of abandoned foreclosed homes in the country.

RealtyTrac and 24/7 Wall Street have reported that roughly 30 percent of Indiana's foreclosed homes are abandoned. Many of these properties fall quickly into a state of blight and attract undesirable or unlawful activity, which can negatively impact Indiana homeowners and neighborhoods by reducing property values and draining local government resources. Many Indiana communities simply lack the resources necessary to combat this problem alone.

Graves said the money received by Greene County will be used solely for removal and cleanup of blighted properties.

"We will not be displacing anyone as a result of this program," Graves said. "We will be using these funds to remove abandoned properties and cleanup the sites."

The U.S. Department of the Treasury established the Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund for the Hardest-Hit Markets (Hardest Hit Fund) to provide financial assistance to families in the states most impacted by the downturn of the housing market. The U.S. Department of the Treasury designed the overall program to give each participating state the flexibility to tailor its program to the unique factors contributing to its state's foreclosure problems. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia administer Hardest Hit Fund assistance to qualified homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments.

IHCDA's announcement that it was exploring the use of Hardest Hit Funds to eliminate blighted and abandoned properties has not detracted from the mission of helping struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. The Blight Elimination Program is simply one more instrument in the foreclosure prevention tool kit. As of Sept. 30, 2014, over 4,000 homeowners in 91 counties have received more than $50 million in Hardest Hit Fund mortgage payment assistance. Mortgage payment assistance programs are expected to continue through Dec. 31, 2017.

For more information on Indiana's Hardest Hit Fund, visit

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