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Columbus Receives $23 Million in Stimulus Funds For Struggling Neighborhoods

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary Shaun Donovan was in Columbus Thursday to deliver millions in federal funds for neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosures and abandoned properties.

Officials have announced $175 million in new federal stimulus money to help Ohio communities devastated by foreclosure and littered with abandoned properties. At a news conference in Columbus, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan said the money will be distributed through a program that seeks to turn foreclosed homes into affordable housing.

"I'm here to deliver some very good news today; specifically $175 million for the state of Ohio, including $23 million for the city of Columbus," Donovan said.

The federal stimulus money is being distributed through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Donovan says Ohio communities met three criteria in competition for the federal funds.

"The first was need. We specifically targeted only those neighborhoods that had high levels of foreclosures and abandonment," Donovan said. "Second we looked at capacity, could the organizations that had come together actually carry out the kind of concentrated large scale efforts that we needed to happen. And then third what was their approach? Was it innovative?"

Columbus received a similar amount of money in the first round of funding last year.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown says the money will help "Main Street" recover from the nation's financial crisis.