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Government & Politics

Congress Considers a New Bill to Help Blighted Communities

Air Force demolition crew trains and helps the city at the same time
An abandoned house is demolished in Youngstown in July 2015.

A bill to increase funding for urban blight cleanup across the country is now before Congress.  Democrat Tim Ryan of Ohio and Republican William McKinley of West Virginia introduced it Tuesday.

The Clean Up Our Neighborhoods Act of 2018 authorizes federal grants to support and amplify local community blight clearing efforts.

Tim Ryan, U.S. Congressman from Ohio
Congressman Tim Ryan, during a visit to Akron June 2017

Efforts that Congressman Tim Ryan says are already removing hundreds of buildings in places like Warren and Youngstown. “This is going to be a national initiative to supercharge making sure people are safe in their own community without having to drive by five or six blighted buildings and an empty commercial property.  We’re going to take ’em all down.

Ryan says the bill will not only expand, but also focus federal backing for blight removal.  “We will fund it through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  They’ll give the money to the States and then ultimately we want it to get to the local land bank.”

The Clean Up Our Neighborhoods Act of 2018 will now go to committee in Congress.