Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – August 13, 2015

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This is our twice-monthly round-up of news stories covering challenges related to vacant, abandoned, and problem 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 New Haven, Connecticut (Credit: Jen Leonard for Center for Community Progress, 2014)


A year after Ferguson, housing segregation defies tools to erase it“One major hurdle for blacks searching for housing in whiter communities, fair housing advocates said, was the unwillingness of many landlords to accept Section 8 vouchers.” John Eligon | New York Times | August 8, 2015


Winnecke: Land bank to be funded with savings“Fewer police and fire runs to vacant, blighted and abandoned structures obviously would save money, the mayor said.” Courier Press | August 3, 2015


Project turning a vacant Baltimore lot into a green space“Paved, vacant lots in urban centers can be more than just an eyesore — they can do environmental damage by trapping heat and adding to problem of polluted runoff washing into creeks and rivers, and ultimately, in this area, the Chesapeake Bay.” Jonathon Wilson | WAMU | August 10, 2015


Flint teens help clean up blighted neighborhoods“Hundreds of teenagers fanned out across Flint today to help clean up the city.” Steve Carmody | Michigan Radio | August 5, 2015

Properties with years of tax debt to be sold“The Wayne County Treasurer this fall will auction off a record number of tax delinquent properties, nearly half that were eligible for foreclosure years ago.” Christine MacDonald | The Detroit News | July 31, 2015

New Jersey

N.J. city hopes to turn 700 abandoned homes into a bright future“By holding owners accountable, executing innovative cleanup initiatives, and working together with partners to invest and redevelop East Orange, we are creating a whole new set of opportunities and renewing a sense of pride in the city.” Jessica Mazzola | NJ.com | August 3, 2015

New York

Vacant ‘zombie’ houses to get regular inspections and upkeep
“Vacant residential homes with first-lien mortgages will get greater attention from 13 banks, mortgage companies and credit unions that have agreed to adopt “best practices” to combat blight from properties whose loans they service.” Virginia N. Sherry | silive.com | August 2, 2015


How abandoned homes affect communities
“When a home becomes abandoned its bruised and ugly exterior can ignite a neighborhood identity crisis.”Mary Kilpatrick | Cleveland.com | August 2, 2015

Land bank helps college grads, students buy homes
“The Cuyahoga Land Bank is handing over the keys to the first home sold through the Buying and Retaining Academic Investment Now program to a Cleveland State University student.”
Cleveland.com | August 5, 2015

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

A Host of People Theatre in Detroit, MI (Credit: Dan Mergenthaler)

Theater event unfolds in Detroit community gardens
“After visiting a few more city-based community gardens, many located on once-vacant properties, Hooker and Azab realized that the stories and motivations behind the gardens were as diverse as the neighborhoods where they were.”
John Monaghan | Detroit Free Press | July 29, 2015