Progress Points: Systemic Vacancy

A Brief Primer

Author(s): Center for Community Progress

Every person deserves to live in a community where property vacancy, abandonment, and deterioration do not exist. Even in the most vibrant communities, however, there are neighborhoods trapped in the grips of systemic racism and intergenerational poverty.

Coupled with historically inequitable land use and lending practices such as redlining, predatory lending, and exclusionary zoning, these neighborhoods are often the places where vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties are common.

Our nation’s historic land ownership policies and their accompanying legal systems impact and perpetuate vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties. Economic crises, inequitable government decision making, and natural disasters exacerbate the issues of systemic vacancy. This shift towards systemic vacancy can happen over years or overnight (e.g., as happened in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina). Communities experiencing these conditions often become stuck in a negative cycle where vacant, abandoned, or deteriorated properties intensify poor living conditions impacting the economy, community, housing stock, and
individuals which in turn fuels neighborhood challenges and increases levels of vacancy and abandonment.

Download and share this one-page explainer today.

Madison Gharghoury, Development Associate and Special Assistant to the President/CEO

Published: January 2022

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