Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties – November 16, 2018

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This is our twice-monthly round-up of news stories covering challenges related to vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties — and how communities are transforming these properties into assets. (The headlines are for informational purposes only; inclusion does not indicate endorsement.) If you’d like to get this round-up in your inbox, join our email list!

Homes in St. Louis, Missouri. (Credit: Christine Henske, flickr, 2011)


There’s opportunity in vacancy “[T]hinking of abandoned properties as merely problems we wish would go away, rather than opportunities that we need better tools to access, feeds into some of the less productive ways vacant properties have been handled over the years…”  Miriam Axel-Lute | Shelterforce | November 13, 2018The Fall 2018 issue of Shelterforce is dedicated to vacant properties. Check out the articles here.

How to fund land banks“Stabilizing and revitalizing disinvested neighborhoods is not an overnight endeavor. Land banks require planning, patience, and partnerships—and dedicated, recurring funding affords land banks the opportunity to carry out meaningful community engagement, pursue long-term strategies, and pilot innovative partnerships.”   Tarik Abdelazim | Shelterforce | November 13, 2018


What’s next for rent control?“[I]f real estate groups continue to dictate solutions to an affordable housing crisis in cities across the country, there is little hope of solving it anytime soon. Tenant protections like Prop 10 ‘drive right at the heart of the failure of the for-profit market,’ said Samara of Urban Habitat. ‘[Prop 10] is a direct intervention into that failure.'”  Sophie Kasakove | The New Republic | November 8, 2018


Tire cleanup part of Bethlehem neighborhood revival “The city has $37.5 million for revitalization efforts in the Laney-Walker and Bethlehem areas, but that ‘yields more than $100 million through leverage and partnership,’ [Hawthorne Welcher Jr.] said.” Tom Corwin | The Augusta Chronicle | November 10, 2018


After demolishing condemned houses, land can languish. Omaha Land Bank, city want to change that “Under the proposed agreement, the city would work to clear those liens in exchange for the land bank’s contribution toward demolitions. If all goes as planned, pockets of abandonment and neglect could soon see new life — new homes replacing empty lots and contributing more in property taxes, too.”Emily Nohr | Omaha World-Herald | November 4, 2018

Rhode Island

‘Hundreds’ of vacant Providence homes could face massive new tax “While administration officials have estimated there are more than 700 vacant or abandoned properties in Providence, the new tax would only apply to properties determined to be ‘continuously unoccupied; under continuous citation; not maintained as evidenced by the exterior condition; or a lot with no existing structure that is littered with trash and obviously abandoned.'” Dan McGowan | WPRI 12 | November 5, 2018


Anti-displacement recommendations take broad approach to combat gentrification  “The strategies attempt to address the problem from a number of angles including: use of existing local funds including bond money to provide housing and tax relief; improving the density bonus programs; partnering with other cities facing affordability issues to lobby state legislators to approve new funding mechanisms; and cooperation with private investors to increase development of affordable single-family homes and apartments.” Chad Swiatecki | Austin Monitor | October 29, 2018


Eviction isn’t just about poverty. It’s also about race – and Virginia proves it.“Across the state, roughly 60 percent of majority African American neighborhoods have an annual eviction rate higher than 10 percent of households — roughly four times the national average — even after controlling for poverty and income rates.”  Terrence McCoy | The Washington Post | November 10, 2018

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

(Credit: Craig J. Orosz, The Lima News)

Local groups come together for garden project“[A]ctivate Allen County saw the new space as a way to expand programming and food education into the heart of Lima’s neighborhoods. Lima Allen County Neighborhoods in Partnership identified the project as an opportunity to create an accessible garden for the area. And at the same time, OSU can utilize the project to test certain theories about land re-utilization.” Josh Ellerbrock | The Lima News | November 2, 2018