Mayor outlines costs of vacant housing effort
Addressing the Residential Neighborhoods Committee of the Common Council, the mayor said it would cost about $6,000 per home to demolish the homes and about $50,000 per home to rehab them.
"But this does not mean that between $6 million and $50 million needs to be appropriated by this council during the budget process," he said.
He said he expects some of the money to come from tax increment finance funding.
And he expects the county and private and not-for-profit entities, including local banks, to contribute as well, he said.
In fact, he said, he thinks non-city money could account for between 10 and 20 percent of the total.
Except in rare cases, city funds would be used to pay for demo work and non-city funds would be used to pay for rehab work, he said.
Among other things, committee members suggested the city allow people to adopt vacant and abandoned homes in certain blocks.
They also suggested the city give vacant lots to neighboring property owners as part of a side-lot program.
The mayor said he would take those ideas under consideration.
Speaking afterward, the mayor called the meeting "constructive."
"I think the council was rightly focused on policy questions, big-picture budget questions and oversight," he said.
Asked how much money he might ask for next year for vacant and abandoned homes, he said it's too soon to tell.
"But it has to remain a major budget priority in order to reach the goal of 1,000 homes in 1,000 days," he said.
The council increased funding for vacant and abandoned homes from $500,000 to $1 million this year.
The mayor said such support is essential moving forward.
"The council conducts oversight and holds the purse strings," he said, "and this is impossible without adequate resources, so we have to talk about how to budget for this."
The mayor announced the goal of addressing 1,000 homes in 1,000 days last week.
He did so in conjunction with the release of a long-awaited report on the vacant and abandoned housing problem in the city.
The report states there are about 1,275 vacant and abandoned homes in the city.
A copy of the report is available on the city's website, www.southbendin.gov.
Staff writer Erin Blasko: