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2019 VAD Academy

May 14, 2019 - May 15, 2019
2019 VAD Academy | Center for Community Progress

Event Type: In-Person

Topic(s): Code Enforcement System, Land Banks, Property Tax System, Vacant Land Stewardship

When: May 14, 2019 - May 15, 2019

Cost: Invite-Only

The VAD Academy–short for Vacant, Abandoned, and Deteriorated Properties Training Academy–is a two-day boot camp for public, private, nonprofit, and community leaders working on these tough property challenges. The 2019 VAD Academy will take place in Houston, Texas on May 14-15, 2019. This edition of the academy will center around concepts of resiliency and how places like Houston are centering equitable revitalization as part of their recovery from natural and man-made disasters.

Vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties are a major problem around the country. In some places, natural disasters have displaced populations and created immediate, indefinite vacancy. In others, abandonment is a longstanding problem due to population and industry loss. Speculators may be buying up and operating substandard rental units, while broken property tax enforcement systems contribute to decline. Many communities face a combination of these and other challenges.

When it comes to developing a comprehensive strategy to transform VAD properties–with an emphasis on equitable outcomes–it can be difficult to know where to begin. So many different departments, organizations, and stakeholders are involved, and they don’t always speak the same language or meet regularly. The systems involved, like code enforcement or delinquent property tax enforcement, are complicated. The way those systems interact with each other is nuanced and complex. Important data about parcel and neighborhood conditions are typically siloed across many different entities, managed differently, and rarely aggregated. And underlying all stabilization and revitalization efforts, tight municipal budgets constrain a community’s options.

Center for Community Progress’ VAD Academy changes the way public, private, and nonprofit leaders approach these property challenges. Unusual in its comprehensive approach, this rigorous, two-day training equips leaders with the ability to understand and influence cross-cutting systems.

Through a mix of interactive classroom sessions and discussion-based group exercises, an expert faculty guides VAD Academy students through these topics:

  • The Fundamentals of Property Market Dynamics: Understanding the market conditions that shape revitalization opportunities and constraints and how to plan accordingly
  • Strategic Code Enforcement: Developing code enforcement programs that respond to the varying needs and priorities of different neighborhoods
  • Understanding How Neighborhoods Affect Landlord Behavior: Developing strategies, including registration and licensing programs, to identify and improve rental property conditions for vulnerable renters
  • Delinquent Property Tax Enforcement: Reforming tax policies so that they contribute equitably to neighborhood stabilization
  • Land Banks and Land Banking Partnerships: Examining how to use land banks effectively to return properties to productive use in support of community goals

Who Should Attend

The VAD Academy is the right opportunity for government and nonprofit professionals, and their private sector and community partners, who seek to implement a more integrated approach to problem properties. It is also a good fit for professionals who work primarily on one issue area (such as code enforcement) and seek to deepen their understanding of how it intersects with other areas of work. Attendees may include urban planners, city attorneys, elected officials, CDC staff, land bank leaders, academics, police officers, code enforcement officials, neighborhood association leaders, developers, lending institutions, and more. Urban and rural communities experiencing widespread abandonment, as well as communities where a subset of neighborhoods find themselves stuck in decline, will benefit from the VAD Academy curriculum.

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