MAYOR ANNOUNCES FEDERAL MONEY COMING TO FORT WAYNE FOR NEIGHBORHOOD STABILIZATION
Funds Will Help Address Foreclosed Properties
Recently I illustrated what $7 million of HUD funds will do to strengthen and support neighborhoods in Fort Wayne. I stood in front of a vacant house in the 3100 block of Hanna Street, pointing out how a single foreclosed property can be a drag to a neighborhood, and when there are many foreclosed houses, those problems get magnified.
I’ve long had a commitment to strengthening and stabilizing our neighborhoods. As you look up and down Fort Wayne’s streets, you can see the effort most property owners put into keeping their homes and yards well maintained and attractive. But then one house sits empty for too long, and it deteriorates into an eyesore that impacts the property values of everyone else on the block. That’s simply not right. This new source of funding will help us address houses like this one, either to tear them down or to rehabilitate them, and either way, the neighbors benefit.
With foreclosures on the rise across the nation, Congress passed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act in July 2008. Fort Wayne has been designated as one of the eligible communities to receive funds intended to help communities mitigate the negative impact of vacant and abandoned homes. Nationwide, nearly $4 billion is slated to be used for acquisition, rehabilitation or demolition of vacant and foreclosed properties.
The City of Fort Wayne is ahead of many other communities in the planning stage of how to use the HUD dollars. Soon after I took office, I directed the community development staff to begin finding solutions to the problems of vacant and abandoned houses in the city, a problem made worse by the down turn in the housing market and the increase in foreclosures. The City’s intentions for the funding are to continue to stabilize neighborhoods, increase home values and encourage investment in Fort Wayne.
The State of Indiana is expected to receive about $83 million and Fort Wayne may be able to leverage some of that in addition to the $7 million we’re already anticipating. The funds are released according to a plan the community has to submit. The proposed plan is now available on the City’s website:
It is available for residents to look it over at any of the Allen County Library branches. The public has until November 24 to make any comments on the plan, which HUD will take into account as it disperses the funding.
We’ll be working out the details of how we’ll identify private sector partners to work with us on this neighborhood stabilization program. We’ll be injecting revenue into the community for jobs and that’s going to help some of our local businesses in this time of a difficult housing market.