June 26, 2014 - Mayor Tom Henry announced today that the City of Fort Wayne has been awarded $4.7 million to help stabilize neighborhoods by demolishing and redeveloping abandoned homes.

The dollars come from the Hardest Hit Fund Blight Elimination Program (BEP), which provides an opportunity for local units of government in all 92 Indiana counties to compete for funding to help eliminate blighted homes and decrease foreclosures. A total of $75 million is available through several rounds of funding.

“This is great news as we continue to see unprecedented momentum in our City,” said Mayor Henry. “I want to congratulate our Community Development staff who worked so hard to put together a detailed application. This effort is all about stabilizing neighborhoods and increasing property values.”

The funding will allow the Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services and Neighborhood Code Enforcement to demolish and redevelop three times the number of vacant homes that are normally taken down in a year. The City estimates approximately 200 vacant homes will be demolished and redeveloped with the funding. The properties will be selected because they are: 1) vacant 2) in extremely poor condition 3) can be easily acquired and 4) are on highly visible corridors (streets and roads).

Neighborhood associations will be asked to help determine what happens with the properties after they are taken down. Some will be turned into green space; others will be available for development of new homes or a mixture of residential and commercial space. Property acquisition will begin within the next month.

The Blight Elimination Program funds will be drawn from the Hardest Hit Fund money allocated to Indiana from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority awards the money to local communities and estimates that approximately 4,000 blighted and/or abandoned homes in Indiana will be eliminated through the Blight Elimination Program.