This section will continue to be updated as new questions arise.

Have a question about the Vacant Property Leadership Institute (VPLI) that’s not answered below? Reach out to Justin Godard, Associate Director, National Leadership & Education at jgodard@communityprogress.org.

1. Where and when will the in-person training portion be held?

The in-person gathering will be held in Austin, Texas at the AT&T Hotel and Conference Center on the campus of the University of Texas. This gathering will take place on November 7-10, 2023.

2. Will VPLI 2023-24 offer a virtual component?

While we plan to host a pre-event virtual gathering to help prepare the selected cities to participate in Austin, the capstone training will not have a virtual component. One of the most impactful elements of this program is the ability to have strategic, face-to-face conversations away from the everyday demands of work.

We will continue to monitor the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and implement any needed safety protocols ahead of in-person gathering.

3. Are communities or states that previously participated in VPLI eligible to apply for the 2023-24 program?

We welcome interest from communities that participated in the predecessor to VPLI, the Community Progress Leadership Institute (CPLI), prior to 2021.

However, communities and states that have participated in past cycles of the Vacant Property Leadership Institute program (2021-22) are not eligible to apply for the 2023-24 program. Those communities and states include:

  • Georgia: College Park, Perry, South Fulton
  • Illinois: Chicago, Decatur, Kankakee, Peoria, Rockford
  • Kentucky: Louisville, Winchester
  • Wisconsin: Milwaukee, Racine

4. Is the focus still on three communities from one state?

Yes, we have found that this program is most successful when delegations consist of three cities from one state since it allows representatives to collaborate on city and state-level policy needs. However, exceptions have been made to this rule in the past. (As part of the 2021-22 cycle, we accepted states with just two city delegations.)

 5. What costs related to participation in VPLI will Community Progress cover? What about a per diem?

Community Progress covers tuition fees, lodging, any travel between the hotel and event sites, and food and beverage for the duration of this event. Delegation members will be solely responsible for travel costs from their city to the event site and vice versa at the end of the week. We will not provide delegation members a per diem as part of participation.

6. How many state delegations will be selected?

We will admit up to three state delegations. Selected city delegation team leads will identify up to two representatives from each state (six total) to admit as statewide delegation members.

7. Who should be part of the city teams?

We will allow four to six representatives from each city and want to see directors and leaders of the departments crucial in the everyday work of addressing vacant properties. We will also look for representation from a community-based organization which works in the places most impacted by VAD properties. More details about the roles we look to see in a delegation can be found in the application packet.

8. The application indicates a letter of support must be included from City executive leadership. Does that also mean that someone from the mayor or city manager’s office must be part of the delegation or lead the delegation?

Municipal Department/Agency Directors are eligible to represent city delegations as the team lead. While it is not necessary that the mayor or city manager’s office lead the delegation, competitive applications will include representation from their offices.

9. I work very closely with my city/town/village’s government departments and agencies but I represent an outside organization. Can I still apply for VPLI?

Unfortunately, non-governmental organizations (e.g., nonprofits, community foundations, land banks, etc.) are not eligible to submit letters of interest for VPLI. However, non-governmental organizations are eligible to participate as a delegation representative should their city be selected to participate. We invite non-governmental organizations to reach out to their contacts in local government to encourage them to apply.