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Government and Politics

Cleveland City Council approves plan to contribute $50,000 to a housing study
Council will help pay for research to prove that demolishing vacant houses reduces local foreclosure rates

Amy Cooknick
In The Region:

Cleveland City Council has agreed to contribute $50,000 toward a study on foreclosures, demolitions and neighborhoods, about a third of the total cost.

The study will look at the relationship between rates of foreclosure in certain neighborhoods and the number of vacant properties in those neighborhoods, and the city hopes to use it to bolster its case to the feds to fund more demolitions.

Jim Rokakis is vice president of Western Reserve Land Conservancy and headed up creation of Cuyahoga County's Land Bank. He says Cleveland can't afford all the demolition work it needs on its own.

"We have about $100 million worth of abandoned properties that need to come down in Ohio alone and there's no money to take these down," Rokakis says. "If we don't take these down, they're only going to make neighborhoods weaker." 

Before coming up with more money, the feds have said they need more evidence that demolishing properties will help keep homes in the surrounding neighborhood from also falling into foreclosure. 

Some council members say they would prefer to restore the old homes rather than demolish them, but Rokakis says that’s simply not cost-effective.

Rokakis says a study like this is needed to gain financial support from feds for demolition and neighborhood revitalization. He also says the study will help Cleveland City Council decide the best way to handle the abandoned properties. 

The study is expected to conclude in the fall.
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