A tale of two cities tackling blight

Warren vacant houses

WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – Two Valley corporations are helping give new life to vacant homes and properties.

In Youngstown, the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation is fixing up houses and putting them on the market. In Warren, the Trumbull County Land Bank is helping families achieve home ownership.

And for both, it is about restoring their cities by getting rid of eyesores and replacing them with something to benefit the neighborhoods.

“Sold about 13 houses this quarter and about 49 side lots. That’s significantly more than we sold a year ago through one quarter,” said Matt Martin, executive director of Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership.

Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership has partnered with the Trumbull County Land Bank, where 18 houses are for sale.

“We are making huge strides. I think every neighborhood in Warren and Trumbull County is salvageable and worth investing in,” Martin said.

Its success story was featured in the New York Times last month.

“We were cited for the number of properties that we have moved as an example of how a high functioning land bank can be a productive solution to blight,” Martin said.

Properties need a lot of work because they have been vacant for a while. They sell anywhere from $3,500 to $10,000, with the goal being home ownership.

In Youngstown, the YNDC is gutting vacant homes and putting them on the market.

“We have more than tripled the output of vacant units this year. So vacant homes that we are rehabilitating, all of those are actually selling before we even finish them,” Ian Beniston of the YNDC said.

The agency has even added a construction team and 20 people through the AmeriCorps programs to do more.

“We are doing more work in many more neighborhoods across the city,” Beniston said.

Both have a number of projects on tap, including community cleanups in Youngstown. Thirty vacant house in Trumbull County are set to be demolished and work to restore the Hughes Mansion into housing for veterans should start soon.

The Trumbull Land Bank also sells renovated houses. Last Saturday it had an open house for one on Vine Street. Private donations paid for the $25,000 makeover and it is expected to sell for less than $30,000.

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