Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – November 5, 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!

Corn Hill Landing in Rochester, New York (Credit: Jen Leonard for the Center for Community Progress,  2014)

Corn Hill Landing in Rochester, New York (Credit: Jen Leonard for the Center for Community Progress, 2014)


For some Americans, the housing crisis isn’t over“’It’s easy to say housing crisis is over but, for many parts of the country, it’s certainly not. The recession isn’t either,’ said Sarah Edelman, one of the authors of the report.” Alana Semuels | The Atlantic | November 2, 2015

RealtyTrac: Far fewer zombies in foreclosure land“States with the highest share of zombie foreclosures as a percentage of total vacant properties included New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Illinois.”  Mortgage Orb | October 27, 2015


Lafayette city-parish eyeing proposal to help put blighted, adjudicated properties back into commerce“After years of wrangling with how to redevelop blighted properties no one seems to want, city-parish government is considering a new law to make it easier to put those parcels back into commerce.” Richard Burgess | The Advocate | October 27, 2015


Detroit to get $21 million more for blight demolition“The change to Michigan’s Hardest Hit Fund award was approved by the MSHDA board at its regular meeting Wednesday afternoon and marked the third time Treasury has allowed the state to move money from other home-ownership protection efforts under the program into demolition, which state and city officials have argued can do more in some municipalities to help stabilize struggling neighborhoods.” Todd Spangler and Paul Egan | Detroit Free Press | October 28, 2015

County lawn program mows 200 lots“The program allowed participating organizations … to earn funding for community efforts by maintaining vacant properties owned by the land bank, according to a news release.” Jennifer Bowman | Battle Creek Enquirer | October 28, 2015

Detroit Land Bank program boosts vacant lot sales“Property owners can buy adjoining vacant lots online with a credit card at buildingdetroit.org. Buyers enter their home address into the system and the vacant lot next door will pop up.” Marti Benedetti | Crain’s Detroit Business | October 19, 2015

Detroit’s other blight crisis: Commercial decay“In Detroit, many residents live and shop near hulking vacant buildings that have been abandoned for years, places that attract crime, vagrants, graffiti and scrappers.” Joe Guillen | Detroit Free Press | November 3, 2015

New Jersey

Grant funds youth violence prevention work in Camden“What happens when you restore rundown buildings that contribute to violence? Camden is about to find out.” Matt Flowers | Courier-Post  | October 29, 2015

New York

Pre-Halloween tradition being used as symbol against ‘zombie properties’“On this year’s “Beggars’ Night” – the night before Halloween – Kearns will be joined by elected officials throughout Erie County to make a larger statement [as part of a ‘shame campaign’].” Avery Schnieder | WBFO | October 25, 2015


Youngstown using spot blight program to target neglected properties“The city of Youngstown took a drastic step this week in the fight against blight.” Amanda Smith | WKBN  | October 22, 2015

102 land-bank sales a new high for Columbus
“Columbus’ land bank has sold more houses, duplexes and other buildings this year than ever before.” Mark Ferenchik | The Columbus Dispatch | October 31, 2015


Towns battle blight and forgotten property“With limited resources and a growing stack of nuisance complaints and code violations, local officials are having a tough time holding accountable absentee landlords and mortgage companies that seize property in foreclosure.” Joe O’Connell and Sarah Scinto | The Times-Tribune | November 1, 2015

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

NOLA birdhouse

Birdhouse Installation (Credit: New Orleans Redevelopment Authority)

Housing boom: New Orleans Redevelopment Authority installs 32 birdhouses on vacant lots
“The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority is taking the architectural trend of modular housing to a miniature level.”
Chris Granger | The Times-Picayune | October 26, 2015