The state is getting $30 million to demolish vacant homes. The funds from the U.S. Treasury Department will go to clear blighted properties that were hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. Mary Kenney, executive director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority, says that abandoned homes aren’t just a problem for Chicago and its suburbs.
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“There are issues in all of—I think—all of our urban, metropolitan areas to some degree,” Kenney said. “You know, some being more than others—Rockford and Quincy, certainly in East St. Louis, we’ve seen some issues, and even areas such as Springfield.”
Statewide, the average vacancy rate is 3.3 percent. While Kenney says details still have to be worked out as to how communities can apply for assistance, she believes areas with higher-than-average vacancy rates will be given priority. Kenney did not say how many demolitions the funds would cover, or if communities would be required to have a plan on how to use the property once it’s cleared.