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  • Vacant Homes In Cleveland Finally Getting Some Attention

    [caption id="attachment_4818" align="alignleft" width="254" caption="Vacant Homes"]homes[/caption]

    Be sure to check out this article from Channel 5 News that discusses the vacant housing issue in Cleveland. More and more homes are becoming and have been vacant and abandoned for some time now, and city officials are finally going to do something about it:

    Local lawmakers believe more federal demolition funds must be found to stop the dramatic drop in northeast Ohio property values.

    Former Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis said he believes the number of condemned homes and buildings in northeast Ohio has ballooned to 30,000.

    Rokakis blamed foreclosures and irresponsible banks, investment firms and individuals who have walked away or ignored their distressed properties.

    The growth in vacant houses comes at a time when federal neighborhood stabilization funds, used to demolish these homes, will soon run dry.

    Rokakis said vacant homes are one of the leading causes of a dramatic drop in regional property values.

    "After 10 years of foreclosure crisis, we have an absolutely stunning drop in property values," said Rokakis. "This is not just the problem of the inner city, it's now become the problem of every homeowner in Cuyahoga County."

    Rokakis pointed to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Just last week, 5 On Your Side was given an exclusive preview of the study and its findings.

    The study focuses on the 27,000 Cuyahoga County homeowners who sold their homes in 2010. It outlines a massive drop in property values that caused these homeowners sell their houses for a total of 1.4 billion dollars less that the homes county assessed value.

    Rokakis and other Northeast Ohio leaders believe vacant homes are dragging down property values by promoting crime and safety hazards.

    In response to this growing problem, the city of Cleveland passed two new laws designed to hold irresponsible property owners accountable for their condemned homes. The legislation gives Cleveland more weapons in pursuing property owners for thousands in demolition costs, which were initially paid for by city tax dollars.

    Rokakis said he believes dropping property values will cause thousand of homeowners to demand lower property taxes during reassessments in 2012.

    Rokakis forecasts Northeast Ohio will lose hundreds of millions of dollars in property tax revenue over the next three years, further reducing city and county services and quality of life.

    Cleveland Councilman Tony Brancatelli said he believes the only way to stop spiraling property values is with legislation designed to created additional federal demolition dollars.

    "We have to raise more demolition dollars, we have to go to our federal government and have them hold the mortgage companies accountable," said Brancatelli. "We got to stop bailing out the banks and the mortgage companies and have them start bailing out our neighborhoods."

    Meanwhile, Rokakis is searching for ways to generate needed federal demolition funds.

    Read more at Yahoo Local

    Filed under: Forest Hill News & Events, Selling Your House
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