A large portion of a multibillion-dollar settlement between the state of Ohio and several large mortgage lenders will go toward demolition of foreclosed, dilapidated houses in the Cleveland area instead of struggling families as intended. The Huffington Post reports that $72 million of the $335 million total from last week’s settlement will fund demolition in the city and nearby Cuyahoga County.
This sum will add to the $60 million the city has already spent over the last five years toward razing empty houses. Approximately 23,000 vacant houses sit in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County combined; this averages to approximately 1 in every 10 duplex and single-family homes being vacant.
The city still has a number of lawsuits pending against financial institutions, seeking $100,000 in damages to cover demolition expenses. Several other large cities, including Memphis, Los Angeles, and Buffalo, N.Y., filed similar suits within the last few four years, but the majority of those cases have since been thrown out.
In addition to the larger cases, the city of Cleveland is also pursuing a number of code enforcement and debt collection cases against individual borrowers and banks. City officials are hoping that the various lawsuits bring about a change in business practices as well as additional funding for the city.
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