Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH) and David McKinley (R-WV) Spearhead Bipartisan Effort to Eliminate Neighborhood Blight | Congressman Tim Ryan
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Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH) and David McKinley (R-WV) Spearhead Bipartisan Effort to Eliminate Neighborhood Blight

June 16, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC – Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH) and David McKinley (R-WV) today introduced the Clean Up Our Neighborhoods Act of 2021, bipartisan legislation that would authorize the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to make grants to States to eliminate blight by taking down abandoned homes, clearing vacant lots, and assisting in distressed neighborhood revitalization.

“The economic, social, and public health costs of abandoned homes and buildings cannot be overstated. With more than 1.3 million vacant residential properties in America, and thousands of them in Midwest communities like Youngstown, Warren, and Akron, our goal is to completely eliminate blighted structures in America and this bill is a big step in that direction,” said Rep. Ryan. “Living near vacant homes and lots can also lead to negative public health and social outcomes. Studies show blight increases criminal activity and gun violence, while many families living in these neighborhoods experience higher rates of chronic illness, developmental delays, and premature mortality. Large sections of our urban centers lay abandoned, endangering the surrounding communities. This bill will address this problem and put federal resources where they are needed to eliminate blight and make American lives better for those who live in these neighborhoods.” 

“Abandoned buildings and vacant lots are an eyesore, negatively impact economic development, and the quality of life in our communities. This bipartisan legislation would provide more resources to empower rural and urban communities alike to clean up these unsightly areas, which will improve our neighborhoods and give a boost to revitalization efforts,” said Rep. McKinley.

“We have 61 county land banks in Ohio and the primary reason so many of them came into existence was to deal with blight—the tens of thousands of vacant and abandoned structures that drag down Ohio’s communities. These abandoned structures make our communities less safe, less desirable and have destroyed property values. This bill will give us a badly needed tool that we need to deal with this crippling problem of blight,” said Jim Rokakis, Executive Director of the Ohio Land Bank Association.

The bill would direct the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to make competitive grants to states to eliminate blight and promote neighborhood revitalization. Funding from the award can be used for demolition and removal of blighted structures, boarding of vacant properties and blighted structures, removal of waste and stabilization activities in connection with providing vacant, green space for the purpose of public access and redevelopment. States must match 15 percent of the amount of the grant.