By Six years following the collapse of the housing market, Ohio is still working to prevent home foreclosures and rid itself of the number of vacant and abandoned homes. Fortunately, the State of Ohio received more than $570 million through the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) to help Ohio homeowners facing foreclosure. Launched in September 2010, the Save the Dream Ohio program has assisted more than 12,000 Ohioans with an 88.5 percent success rate.
In addition to helping Ohio families avoid foreclosure, OHFA recently redirected a portion of its efforts toward alleviating the number of vacant homes in the state. While the exact number of vacant homes plaguing the state is unknown, it is estimated to be around 100,000. These vacant homes serve as a detriment to local communities, reduce home values, serve as a place for crime and inhibit neighborhood growth.
Under approval by the U.S. Department of Treasury, OHFA will direct up to $60 million of the state’s $270 million remaining uncommitted foreclosure prevention funds for the Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP). NIP will be available to up to 16 Ohio counties that have an established land bank. The program is expected to begin next year and conclude by the end of 2015. The maximum amount of assistance per property is $25,000 with an estimated average amount of assistance of $12,000. Consequently, it is estimated that nearly 5,000 vacant and abandoned homes will be demolished statewide as a result of this program.
NIP allows OHFA to continue assisting homeowners while redirecting a portion of funding to help stabilize home values by removing vacant housing. This will lessen the financial burden on existing homeowners and local communities struggling to maintain and preserve their neighborhoods.
To learn more about Save the Dream Ohio, visit www.savethedream.ohio.gov or call 888-404-4674.
Cynthia A. Flaherty became Director of Homeownership at OHFA in January 2008 after serving as Director of Special Projects at the Agency. She oversees the Agency’s efforts on its First-Time Homebuyer program and Save the Dream Ohio program as well as federal housing counseling grants.