Congressman Tim Ryan Spearheads Bipartisan Effort to Eliminate Neighborhood Blight
Washington, DC - Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Congressman David McKinley (R-WV) introduced the Clean Up Our Neighborhoods Act of 2019 (H.R. 2390). This legislation would authorize the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to make grants to States to eliminate residential and commercial blight and assist in neighborhood revitalization. Eligible activities would include boarding vacant properties, demolishing or renovating blighted structures, clearing and maintaining vacant land, and stabilizing activities that provide open green space for public access and redevelopment. States must match 15 percent of the grant amount. There are currently 1.3 million vacant homes in America, including thousands in Midwest communities like Youngstown, Akron, Detroit, and Flint. Our ultimate goal must be to completely eliminate blight from our neighborhoods and this bill is a big step in that direction.
The cost of abandoned buildings and vacant lots cannot be overstated. Abandoned structures account for $777 million in fire-related property losses each year, not to mention thousands of dollars in decreased property values for neighboring homeowners," said Congressman Ryan. Neighborhood blight can also lead to negative public health and social outcomes. Abandoned structures can become physical spaces for criminal activity, drug use, and gun violence. Studies link blighted properties to higher rates of childhood lead poisoning, chronic illness, mental distress, and premature mortality. A nation as wealthy as ours cannot be content to see some communities thrive, while others are scarred by fear, hopelessness, and neglect. It's time to put the resources of the federal government to work addressing this largescale problem." "Abandoned buildings and vacant lots are an eyesore, negatively impact economic development, and the quality of life in our communities," Congressman McKinley said. "This bill will provide more resources to empower rural and urban communities alike to mitigate these unsightly areas, which will improve our neighborhoods and give a boost to revitalization efforts."