A bi-partisan group of delegates has taken up the issue of abandoned properties in a bill introduced earlier this week.
HB 2810 would create the “West Virginia Property Rescue Initiative” to address and reduce the number of dilapidated properties in the state that pose an on-going health and safety threat to communities.
Sponsored by the Kanawha County delegation, Delegates Nancy Guthrie, Mike Pushkin, Andrew Byrd, Larry Rowe, John McCuskey, Brad White, Chris Stansbury and Ron Walters, HB 2810 was crafted with guidance from the West Virginia Housing Development Fund.
This program requires the Housing Development Fund to work with municipalities and counties to address vacant and dilapidated structures, and to provide technical assistance, training and consultation to those entities on this subject. Additionally, the bill would create a revolving loan fund to serve as funding for cities and counties to take down structures. It requires the Housing Development Fund to deposit a total of $5 million in this loan fund over the next five years. It provides flexibility for the Housing Development Fund to structure the terms of the loan repayment program, with the option to offer no-interest loans to communities.
The bill makes no mention of access to the property rescue initiative by nonprofit housing and redevelopment groups. It also does not mention how this bill will intersect with the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and programs that are offered through that entity.
The bill is double-referenced to House Judiciary and Finance committees. It will be a heavy lift for the bill to move through both committees prior to the March 1st deadline. If you are interested in this bill, want to know more about its progress, or have ideas about potential changes or improvements to the bill, consider contacting the lead sponsor Delegate Nancy Guthrie at 304-340-3156 or firstname.lastname@example.org.