Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – February 12, 2016

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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!

Georgia

Vacant houses cost Atlanta millions a year, solutions not easy or cheap: Ga. Tech report“Blighted and vacant properties in the city of Atlanta come at a great cost in terms of services such as police and fire, lost property taxes, and the way they pull down values of neighboring properties, according to a new report by a Georgia Tech professor.” David Pendered | Saporta Report | February 8, 2016

Maryland

Baltimore group has plan to use land trusts to make more affordable housing available“The strategy is designed to boost resident participation in development plans, create jobs and re-invigorate communities without displacing the people who live in them, she said.” Yvonne Wenger | Baltimore Sun | January 28, 2016

Michigan

EDITORIAL: Flint’s long misery, at the hands of urban policy“Everyone is focused on the city now, because it’s the site of a gargantuan public health crisis. But if we’re really concerned about fixing Flint, beyond the instant attention to the crisis, we need to be focused on far more than the water.” Stephen Henderson | Detroit Free Press | January 30, 2016

Vacant lots get new life with Detroit Future City mini-grants“If you’ve wondered what an empty lot in your neighborhood could be used for, there could be a group of like-minded citizens planning a youth program or a gathering space on that very spot.” Robin Runyan | Detroit Curbed | February 4, 2016

Ohio

City creates one-stop-shop to report, track property issues“Do you have an abandoned house on your block? How about litter and over grown grass at the home next door? There is a site for that.” Jenell Walton | WLWT | February 9, 2016

Pennsylvania

Ideas Worth Stealing: Section 8 voucher money to assist with homeownership“If the city can scale such an idea, it could grow the number of homeowners, stabilize neighborhoods, and decrease blight.” Irina Zhorov | Keystone Crossroads  | February 4, 2015

Texas

Dallas tackles blight with force “‘It’s so important for us to find out where these blighted houses are, where these vacant structures are,’ explained Watts. ‘So, we can try to move on them as quickly as possible.’” Caroline Connolly | NBC DFW | January 29, 2016

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

This Valentine’s Day, celebrate neighborhood revitalization with #LoveThatLot
“The #LoveThatLot campaign is the Center for Community progress’ way of celebrating the hard work of transforming vacant, blighted properties into neighborhood assets and amenities.”
James Brasuell | Planetizen | February 4, 2016