Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – October 9, 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!

Rochester, New York (Credit: Jen Leonard for Center for Community Progress,  2014)

Rochester, New York (Credit: Jen Leonard for Center for Community Progress, 2014)

National

Redlining is alive and well—and evolving“Some recent cases, however, show that not only is redlining alive today, but that it’s also evolved in many cases into racist practices that aren’t as detectable as they were during Jim Crow.”Brentin Mock | CityLab | September 28, 2015

District of Columbia

Why does D.C. have so many vacant houses, when real estate is so pricey?“ANC Commissioner David Sheon is working to reduce vacant properties in the District — but what he calls a ‘loophole’ in the law is making that difficult.” Matthew S. Schwartz |WAMU | October 9, 2015

Delaware

New Castle County puts $500,000 into homebuyer aid“New Castle County officials on Tuesday said $500,000 in property tax money is being allocated to encourage home ownership in distressed areas.” Xerxes Wilson | Delaware Online | September 15, 2015

Indiana

From vacant to vibrant“Environmental leaders in the city are working with Cleveland Botanical Garden to use some of the vacant lots to address stormwater management issues with rain gardens.” Lauri Harvey Keagle | nwitimes.com | October 3, 2015

Michigan

Blight blitz builds up Detroit property values“Home property values in Detroit are beginning to increase in areas where blight has been removed, according to a new report.” Louis Aguilar | The Detroit News | October 7, 2015

How 85,000 worms are helping vacant Detroit lots“In its effort to revitalize, Detroit is putting even worms to work.” John Gallagher | Detroit Free Press | October 4, 2015

New Urban Safety Corps leader targeting blight, crime in Flint“Alston, along with a team of 10 yet-to-be-hired AmeriCorps members, will help clean up blight and assist with activities that help reduce crime, while increasing community involvement and creating sustainability.” Sarah Schuh | M Live | October 2, 2015

Nebraska

City Council to consider creating registry of neglected, vacant properties and proposing fines for owners“Mayor Jean Stothert and the Omaha City Planning Department want a new tool to tackle the chronic, vexing problems of houses’ being left to rot in neighborhoods and taxpayers being left to foot the bill for knocking them down.” Christopher Burbach | Omaha World-Herald  | October 6, 2015

Ohio

YNDC: Demonstrating what’s possible“It represents a vision of the past, when Mahoning Avenue was a vital commercial corridor, and a brief glimpse into a brighter future.” Justin Weir | The Jambar | September 30, 2015

Pennsylvania

Together, Philadelphia can combat blight“A deep understanding of blight as a malleable and complex concept is key to crafting comprehensive and effective solutions, and that takes open and honest engagement with a range of stakeholders.” Michelle Feldman and Lee Huang | philly.com | October 1, 2015

Editorial: Land bank can be big help in fixing neighborhoods“Nothing drags down a neighborhood quite so effectively as an abandoned house.” Editorial | Lancaster Eagle-Gazette | October 3, 2015

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

Vacant school in Detroit (Credit: Nitram242)

Jobs program boards up schools; Detroiters find careers
“‘The idea was to address blight,’ project director Rodney Prater said. ‘But the main purpose was to train people who otherwise might have never seen a saw or a hammer, with a long-term goal that they become qualified or prequalified apprentices in the building trades.'”
Ann Zaniewski | Detroit Free Press | September 26, 2015