Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – August 4, 2017

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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!

Mural in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Credit: Perry Quan, flickr, 2011)



A bipartisan fix to the housing crisis?“The hearing focused on a bill proposed by Cantwell that is designed to spur new affordable housing investment and construction. S. 548—the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017—would expand and reshape the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, which is responsible for 90 percent of the new low-income housing built in America today. If passed, this bill could create or preserve some 1.3 million affordable homes over 10 years, about 400,000 units over the current projections.” Kriston Capps | CityLab | August 2, 2017

These 5 neighborhoods maps show roots of gentrification “A new mapping tool from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition illuminates the consequences of the most important history underlying cities in the United States today: the history of redlining.” Oscar Perry Abello | Next City | August 1, 2017


Why Sacramento plans to demolish and replace an entire neighborhood “More than 200 of the new units will be earmarked for the community’s current residents, who must temporarily relocate until the new housing is ready. An additional 280 garden apartments and town homes will be marketed to young workers and families who can pay a bit more but have been priced out of housing just to the south in downtown and midtown.” Tony Bizjak | Sacramento Bee | July 23, 2017


Neighbors hopeful blighted property auction can rejuvenate the Lower 9  “CivicSource says interested property owners will have to place an $850 deposit down at civicsource.com. Once legal compliance work is completed, nominated properties will be scheduled for the next available auction, which takes place online the first Wednesday of each month. It’s a move officials say is long overdue.” Caresse Jackman | WWL 4 | August 1, 2017


Fighting blight in Holyoke with Massachusetts Housing Court receivership program   “The city’s Problem Property Group is working with the Massachusetts Housing Court on a dozen properties here in receivership, officials said. ‘The work that the Problem Property Group has done so far is exactly what we need to move the city in the right direction,’ Mayor Alex B. Morse said.”Mike Plaisance | MassLive | August 1, 2017

New York 

Momentum for NYC community land trusts gets $1.65M boost“The $1.65 million in grants came through the new Community Land Trust Initiative at Enterprise Community Partners, funded via bank settlement payments collected by the Office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “We see it as poetic justice that the settlement money came from the housing crisis caused by banks,” says Lynn Lewis.”Oscar Perry Abello | Next City | July 26, 2017


Purchase pending on Foxwood Plaza could rejuvenate neighborhood “‘If we can create a for-profit and bring a nonprofit alongside to deliver programming while people have the ability to work, earn a living, possibly go to school and their children are taken care of, then we hope that creates opportunity for them to develop their own path to sustainability,’ said [Stan] McCright.” Yolanda Putman | Times Free Press | July 30, 2017

West Virginia 

New WV law changes rules for abandoned, dilapidated properties “The law allows code enforcement agencies to obtain search warrants from a municipal judge to determine the status of a structure. If granted, the agency can inspect the property to see if it is truly dilapidated, Charleston City Attorney Paul Ellis said. If there are significant issues with the structure, municipalities can then demolish those that are serious public safety hazards.” Ali Schmitz | Charleston Gazette-Mail | July 15, 2017

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

Edna Sabucco (Credit: Scott Atkinson)

#FlintRevitalizing – In Flint neighborhoods, vacant lots will soon bear fruit Over the next few weeks, our featured ‘Blight to Bright’ spot will highlight stories on effective resident-led revitalization efforts in Flint. Click the image above to learn more about the Eastside Neighborhood Association’s plans to convert eight vacant lots into a new neighborhood park, complete with fruit trees, and share your reactions using  #FlintRevitalizing!