WARREN - Eleven communities in Trumbull County and the county land bank have pledged the $775,000 dollar-for-dollar match amount needed to get some of the $75 million Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's Office has to tear down vacant and abandoned homes.
The money committed here gets the land bank $1.2 million from the grant for a total $2 million that can be spent on demolitions. The first $500,000 from the state did not require a match.
Ten communities - Brookfield, Howland, Hubbard Township, Warren Township, Weathersfield, McDonald, Girard, Hubbard, Newton Falls and Niles - already had pledged $114,250 toward the effort, and Warren's $500,000 left the land bank to pitch in $161,547.
It's coming from a surplus of about $150,000 the land bank had in its budget last year and some extra funds this year too, said Sam Lamancusa, county treasurer and land bank board president.
''So we are basically using last year's carryover to support the $161,000,'' Lamancusa said.
The money DeWine has is part of Ohio's share from a court settlement with the nation's largest mortgage servicers over foreclosure abuses, fraud and unacceptable mortgage practices.
Funds committed locally toward a state grant to tear down vacant and abandoned homes:
Brookfield - $10,000
Howland - $10,000
Hubbard Township - $10,000
Warren Township - $25,000
Weathersfield - $5,000
McDonald - $5,250
Girard - $25,000
Hubbard - $10,000
Newton Falls - $4,000
Niles - $10,000
Warren - $500,000
Trumbull County Land Bank - $161,547
The total amount of funding available to each county is based on the percentage of foreclosure filings in each county between 2008 and 2011 divided by the total amount of funding, $75 million.
''The settlement is to help the victims of the mortgage crisis,'' DeWine said. ''There is no one that is a bigger victim than someone who lives on a street whose next door neighbor home is abandoned, it's rat infested or maybe a crack house. That has driven down the value of that home for that homeowner and it's also a situation where their kids can't play and it's just a place they don't want to live.''
Trumbull is eligible to receive $1.2 million; Mahoning County, $1.5 million.
DeWine said the money won't tear down all the homes that need it, but ''it will, I believe, make a difference. It will help.''
The first round of applications will be accepted through June 30, and grants will be awarded Aug. 1. The demolition programs must be complete by Dec. 1, 2014.
Because of the deadlines, Matt Martin, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership program director, said the organization has altered an inventory of all properties in Warren to focus now on blight and demolitions. The rest of the comprehensive review will be done later, he said.
The strategy being developed looks at Warren's main corridors, clusters and also takes into account homes that pose crime and safety issues.
''We're trying to come up with a short list that makes the most sense,'' Martin said.
Lamancusa said he expects the board will formally approve the application at its meeting on June 19. That also is when TNP's recommendations for tear-downs in the city and adjacent areas in Warren Township and Howland will be made, Martin said.