OHFA 2020 Summer Newsletter

OHFA UPDATE - PAGE 9 - SUMMER The Housing Preservation team successfully transitioned to work-from-home and continued to provide excellent customer service. We returned calls, responded to emails and answered tenant complaints within 24 hours. We are currently testing an outbound call system and hope to take live calls again by the end of September. The Loan Administration staff researched, printed, signed, notarized and mailed an average of 124 lien releases each week to US Bank as second mortgages matured or homeowners paid them off. The Hardest Hit Fund staff worked on blight reimbursements and data cleanup as the Neighborhood Initiative Program winds down. As of August 31, we have reimbursed demolition costs on 16,677 blighted houses, averaging 91 properties per month. The remaining program balance is $11.6 million. The Lead Initiative Program staff facilitated reimbursement from the Ohio Department of Health Lead Demolition Grant for removing 21 houses in Trumbull and Richland counties, totaling $227,129 last fiscal year. Average demolition cost was $10,815 and median age of the houses was 92 years. We worked with the Trumbull County Land Bank who developed the Trumbull Protocol to minimize negative impacts to local communities during demolition. The county has substantial experience with safe lead demolition practices that it developed under a grant from the EPA. Our team is working hard to get the Lead Initiative Program operational. The program will reimburse land banks for demolishing homes with lead. While some of our land banks have expressed interest in the project, many are still focused on their work to demolish abandoned properties using monies from the Neighborhood Initiative Program. During this process, we learned that asbestos removal drives up costs and results in fewer houses demolished. In addition, working strictly from the Lead Hazard Control Order list was challenging as people still lived in many of the homes on the list, and reaching out-of-state and multiple owners for permission to demolish was difficult. We are noting how to improve the program, so more land banks can participate and land banks can demolish more unsafe houses with lead. OFFICE OF SINGLE FAMILY HOUSING HOUSING PRESERVATION UPDATE TOM WALKER HOUSING PRESERVATION DEVELOPMENT MANAGER