On March 19, Representative Steve LaTourette (R-OH) —a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies—and Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH) introduced the Restore our Neighborhoods Act of 2012, H.R. 4210. The bill would provide $4 billion for states and established land banks to issue 30-year demolition bonds, called Qualified Urban Demolition Bonds (QUDB), to demolish vacant, foreclosed, and abandoned homes.
Of the $4 billion allocated to the bond fund, $2 billion would be provided evenly to all states and $2 billion would be divided amongst states that have been hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. Qualification as a hardest-hit state would be based on factors including unemployment, vacant housing rates, and foreclosure rates. States would have two years to issue the demolition bonds before their allocations would be redistributed to hardest-hit states.
At a press conference announcing the legislation, LaTourette and Fudge emphasized the need to remove uninhabitable and blighted properties from neighborhoods to help preserve property values. LaTourette said that in many neighborhoods, the only option is to demolish abandoned properties and replace them with new structures.
The funding would complement the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), of which 10 percent of funding can be used for demolition. The bill would also allow hardest-hit states, such as Ohio, to use up to their entire NSP allocation for demolition.