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Blight Elimination Program Aims to Reduce Foreclosures

The State of Indiana is diverting federal money to help local communities demolish abandoned homes.  Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann says the program will help stabilize neighborhoods and reduce foreclosures.

Indiana has the highest percentage of abandoned foreclosed homes in the country, with estimates of more than 50,000 abandoned homes statewide.  The state received approval from the federal government to divert $75 million from its Hardest Hit Fund – which helps Hoosiers avoid foreclosure – for a Blight Elimination Program.

Lieutenant Governor Ellspermann says abandoned homes contribute to higher foreclosure rates.

“It reduces the property values, it increases crime and it drains valuable municipality resources,” Ellspermann said.

Indianapolis Democratic Representative Justin Moed says the Blight Elimination Program can help cash-strapped cities focus in on the most critical areas.

“They can target on the worst of the worst properties so that then the remaining abandoned properties that are in a neighborhood can be focused on for redevelopment by community development groups, neighborhoods and investors,” Moed said.

County and local governments can apply for the funds individually or in groups, pooling resources to drive down demolition costs.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.