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Archives for October 2016

Gratitude and Passion

By Doug Harsany


Fall is the season for brightly colored leaves, counting our blessings, and conferences. The leaves in our area have seemed a little late in turning this year, maybe due to some unseasonably warm weather. At this writing, they are now nearing their peak. I still find myself in awe at their grandeur.

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HOME Strategies in Small Communities: Big Impact with Little Funding

by Amy Sackman Odum (Director of Community Development, City of Lima Ohio), Guest Contributor

limatrust What can you do with $257,989 in housing funds? In most Ohio markets, it may buy a comfortable home.  In Lima, Ohio, it runs an entire housing program! The City of Lima is the third smallest HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) entitlement community in Ohio. Yet, Lima is attracting attention with the announcement of a 15 million-dollar historic bank building renovation, which will produce 47 apartments and 3 floors of office and retail.  Ten of the apartment units will be market rate. This project is in addition to running a popular housing down payment assistance program and providing home repair loans. How can so little funding produce so much? Several strategies are needed for big results, and to make local needs mesh with limited resources and daunting regulatory requirements.

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Keeping Your Family and Neighborhood Healthy in Winter

By Cindy Harsany

Fall is wonderful! the leaves change colors in most of the states, we still have warm breezes, and we get to play outside.  This creates a relaxing entrance to winter. We can almost come to believe that maybe we won’t experience cold, snow, a fall on the ice, or the need to dig our car out of a ditch.

However, fall will transition as temperatures decrease, bringing with it winter. Winter officially begins on Wednesday, December 21st and the 2017 Farmers’ Almanac has released this prediction, “Get ready for a shift from last year!  For the winter of 2016–2017, we expect temperatures to be much colder than last winter but still above normal. Winter 2017 will also feature below-normal snowfall overall; the snowy exception is the northern tier of the U.S., which can expect to be blanketed in white.”

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Land Banking 101

By Doug Harsany

This article is written to both those operating, or considering the operation of, a land bank, and to anyone interested in community revitalization. For the purposes of this article, a land bank is an organization created to address the challenges associated with vacant and abandoned property within set jurisdictional boundaries. These properties are typically tax foreclosed and are transferred by the government entity to the land bank with clear title. A land bank seeks to manage and maintain these properties with the end goal of returning the properties to productive reuse.

In addition to the legal structures required to make a land bank operational and to acquire properties with clear title, which vary from state to state, there are a number of challenges that land banks often need to address. In this article, we will attempt to introduce important components of five common, but demanding, tasks that land banks often face. We will also seek to provide some basic insight into the successful execution of these tasks.

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