Headlines: All the latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – March 20, 2014

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Flint Rehabbed HomeThis is our twice-monthly round-up of the top stories about vacant, abandoned, and problem properties. These headlines are shared for informational purposes only; sharing does not indicate endorsement.

(Missed the last post? Its archived on our blog.)
We offer up highlights here, but follow us on Twitter for all the latest headlines, in real time. And we’re scouring the web so you don’t have to, but if you have a headline to share, feel free to email us!


CFPB targets “zombie” foreclosures after Reuters report “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is probing “zombie” foreclosures, a phenomenon first revealed by Reuters last year.”Michelle Conlin | Reuters | March 13, 2014

Government’s empty buildings are costing taxpayers billions“On a street corner in downtown Washington, D.C., David Wise is opening a century-old iron gate in front of an old, boarded-up brick building.”Laura Sullivan | NPR News | March 12, 2014


Blight to Bright may help reduce Colorado Springs’ condemned, abandoned homes“Curtis Olson hates seeing boarded-up homes, like the string of deteriorating bungalows on East Brookside Street near Cheyenne Creek that are targets for street people, drug dealers and vandals.”Bill Volgrin| The Gazette | March 14, 2014


To deter crime, Wilmington tries lived-in look“Some Wilmington officials hope that making vacant houses look occupied can push criminal activities away from certain city blocks.” Yann Ranaivo| The News Journal | March 9, 2014

Looking for more on disguising vacancy. Check out our recent blog post.


Baltimore County Code Enforcement goes mobile“Baltimore County Code Enforcement unveiled a new mobile system Thursday that will allow citizens to register and track neighborhood nuisance issues such as overgrown lawns, uncovered garbage and rats online.”
Jon Meoli | Baltimore Sun | March 13, 2014


In the rubble of Detroit lies lots of opportunity (guest column)“Everyone is talking about demolishing buildings in Detroit.”
Mary Freeman and Andy Levin | Detroit Free Press | March 16, 2014

Farm planned for former Detroit school as part of district’s reuse effort“The Detroit Public Schools today will hold a conference for prospective developers on reusing vacant district buildings and surplus land.”
Associated Press | March 12, 2014


Recasting vacant lots as assets, not blight can turn Kansas City’s problem into opportunity“Take a problem that everyone is familiar with and reshape it.”
Mary Sanchez | Kansas City Star | March 16, 2014

New York

Syracuse Land Bank reports on progress in first year“Schenectady’s land bank has sold its first property.” Ellen Abbot | WRVO Public Radio | March 12, 2014

NY AG Schneiderman Announces Legislation To Kill “Zombie” Properties“Even in highly populated areas of New York, vacant lots of land exist.” Lucas Willard | WAMC Northeast Public Radio | March 12, 2014


Greater Cincinnati gets $5M grant to combat neighborhood blight“Residents in Cincinnati have been fighting hard to get rid of rundown and abandoned homes that have become eyesores in the neighborhood.”Courtis Fuller | WLWT | March 6, 2014


See the city’s blighted properties (w/ interactive maps)“Wednesday we published a story about a city of Houston proposal to grant tax breaks to people who redevelop blighted properties.”Mike Morris | Houston Chronicle | March 13, 2014


Renters move in to vacant properties through ‘Rent to Own Homes’ project“The home is one of 24 foreclosed properties that these co-developers have purchased and are rehabbing to give people such as Marchese access to affordable housing in the city.” Karen Slattery | Neighborhood News Service | March 14, 2014

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!


Credit: Made in Brownsville

Dekonti Mends-Cole on Memory Banking and the City
“Dekonti Mends-Cole is a 2013 Next City Vanguard and a Strong Cities, Strong Communities Fellow working on blight elimination strategies in Detroit.” Liz Maillie| Next City | December 18, 2014