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Congressman: New Bill Protects Responsible Homeowners

House Resolution 656 would pay to demolish vacant, abandoned and foreclosed properties

Stow's Congressional Rep. Dave Joyce joined several other Northeast Ohio government leaders Wednesday in introducing House Resolution 656, the Restore Our Neighborhoods Act, as an effort to clear communities of vacant and abandoned properties.

Joyce joined Rep. Marcia Fudge, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed in unveiling the proposed legislation in downtown Cleveland.

The act was promoted as a means to "protect responsible homeowners by allocating funds to demolish vacant, abandoned, or foreclosed properties," according to a statement released by Joyce's office.

According to Rep. Fudge's website, the act would allow the sale of U.S. Treasury Bonds to provide money for demolishing vacant houses. Proceeds from the sale of the bonds to investors would be used by state-level land banks for demolition.

Joyce said by clearing blighted properties responsible homeowners would not continue to lose value on their houses.

"This common-sense bill will increase home values, decrease crime, and protect responsible homeowners from the enormous economic drag of vacant or abandoned homes in their neighborhoods," Joyce said. "For too long, responsible Ohioans paying their mortgage every month and meticulously taking care of their homes have been punished."

Citing the Government Accountability Office, Joyce pointed to statistics that show the drag such vacant properties can have on occupied houses. 

A foreclosed, vacant, and tax-delinquent property reduces neighboring property prices by almost 10 percent and can reduce values of nearby homes by as much as $8,600 to $17,000 per property, according to Joyce's office.

The resolution has been referred to the congressional committee on ways and means and has to work its way through committee before it can reach the house floor for a vote, a spokesperson for Joyce said.

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