The State of Indiana is diverting federal money to help local communities demolish abandoned homes. Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann says the program will help stabilize neighborhoods and reduce foreclosures.
Indiana has the highest percentage of abandoned foreclosed homes in the country, with estimates of more than 50,000 abandoned homes statewide. The state received approval from the federal government to divert $75 million from its Hardest Hit Fund – which helps Hoosiers avoid foreclosure – for a Blight Elimination Program.
Lieutenant Governor Ellspermann says abandoned homes contribute to higher foreclosure rates.
“It reduces the property values, it increases crime and it drains valuable municipality resources,” Ellspermann said.
Indianapolis Democratic Representative Justin Moed says the Blight Elimination Program can help cash-strapped cities focus in on the most critical areas.
“They can target on the worst of the worst properties so that then the remaining abandoned properties that are in a neighborhood can be focused on for redevelopment by community development groups, neighborhoods and investors,” Moed said.
County and local governments can apply for the funds individually or in groups, pooling resources to drive down demolition costs.