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IHCDA announces $5.59 million in Blight Elimination Awards for East Chicago, Gary and Hammond

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) announced yesterday at their December Board of Director's (BoD) meeting that East Chicago, Gary and Hammond will each receive additional funding totaling $5,591,000 to address blighted homes in Lake County through Indiana's Blight Elimination Program (BEP).

Through two separate funding rounds, the BEP provided an opportunity for local units of government in all 92 Indiana counties to compete for funding to eliminate blighted, vacant and abandoned homes in an effort to decrease foreclosures. Due to meeting certain milestones as current BEP recipients in Funding Round One, East Chicago, Gary and Hammond each were eligible to apply for, and today received, additional funding in Round Two.

“We are pleased to be able to provide additional funding to each of these communities who are administering the program effectively in Lake County," said Jacob Sipe, Executive Director at of IHCDA. "With this funding we look forward to continue supporting their efforts to strategically identify, acquire and demolish vacant and blighted properties."

Since funds were not available to award the full amount of requests from the eligible communities (those that have completed 60% of their Round One BEP projects), the most equitable funding distribution was to review the amount of demolitions completed by each of these communities to determine the amount each community was eligible to receive. As a result, here are the awards:

East Chicago - $914,000
Gary - $4,409,000
Hammond - $268,000

The BEP funds will be drawn from the $221.7 million Hardest Hit Fund money allocated to Indiana. In February 2014, U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) approved the use of $75 million of Indiana’s Hardest Hit Funds by IHCDA for successful BEP applicants.The BEP is not a grant program. The program is a loan program that allows IHCDA to make funding available to successful applicants. The loans will then be restructured as forgivable loans using Hardest Hit Funds.

IHCDA estimates that approximately 4,000 blighted and abandoned homes in Indiana will be eliminated through the BEP. To date, more than 1,500 homes have been demolished.

It is important to note that per the program guidelines set by Treasury on January 15, 2016, properties must be vacant at all times during the review process. Therefore, for a structure to be reviewed by IHCDA for consideration and approved it must be vacant.