Vacant Properties: Strategies and Help for Local Governments

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The Center for Community Progress is the leading national organization providing expert, high-impact technical assistance to end and prevent entrenched vacancy and property deterioration ("blighted properties") so that all people can live in safe, affordable, resilient, and equitable neighborhoods. If you’re ready to take a comprehensive approach to ending systemic vacancy in your community, we can help you get there.

What is Technical Assistance?

Technical assistance from Community Progress is a consultation service where we provide expert guidance and analysis to government officials and decision makers tailored to the needs of your community. Our team combines decades of legal, planning, and strategic expertise to assess the state of vacant property in your community, craft recommendations for policy and practice changes, and help you build long-term capacity so implementation succeeds.

Addressing vacant properties cannot happen overnight. What sets Community Progress apart is that our technical assistance team builds relationships to make sure local partners have the ongoing support they need to create long-term solutions to equitably prevent and reduce entrenched vacancy.

Our Services

The technical assistance team at Community Progress has expertise in a variety of topics including:

We center racial equity in all we do, and design solutions to vacancy and deterioration within a framework of equitable community development so communities can realize goals like resiliency, healthy and affordable housing, and safe neighborhoods.


We will conduct an initial assessment of your existing vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated property (VAD) conditions. Our goal is to help you understand the nature and scope of the problem and which local and state laws, strategies and practices are working—and which aren’t. Our assessment services include:

  • Reviewing the legal framework, policies, programs, and capacity related to the systems, like code and delinquent property tax enforcement, that impact problem properties
  • Analyzing and providing a profile of the state of vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties in your community
  • Calculating the true costs of vacant properties in your community, in terms of impacts to tax base and the time spent by police, fire, and code inspectors responding to vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties
  • Assessing neighborhood stability through housing market, vacancy, and demographic indicators and generating neighborhood segmentation analyses


We will work hand in hand with you to craft customized recommendations for specific policy, practice, and strategy changes, including:

  • Topic-specific, comprehensive policy recommendations to address vacant land and vacant property
  • Drafting ordinances and laws aimed at addressing vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties
  • Designing programs to help end and prevent entrenched vacancy, with your community’s specific needs in mind
  • Conducting strategic planning and helping develop action plans that result in improved resource allocation and greater impact

Build Capacity

Our team provides the capacity building that is needed to see policy change through. These capacity-building services include:

  • Delivering locally based, topic-specific presentations, trainings, and customized resources
  • Coaching leaders who will be implementing new policies and practices
  • Producing top-tier publications that share best practices for tackling vacancy to inform the field

Ready to tackle systemic vacancy?

Community Progress has helped more than 300 communities across the country in their pursuit to end systemic vacancy. Contact us below for more information about our services and pricing. Thanks to the generous support of our funders, we also may be able to offer reduced-cost technical assistance support related to property tax and code enforcement systems for specific communities. Inquire to learn more. Download our brochure »

Our Program Areas

Through our program areas, we provide customized expert guidance to local and state leaders across the country to address systemic vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated property issues.

If you’re in Michigan or Georgia, visit our program pages to learn more about customized support we offer to those states’ unique VAD challenges. For communities in other states, check out our National Technical Assistance services.

Additional Projects

Land Bank Incubator Scholarship Program  We offer a competitive scholarship program offering free technical assistance to support expanding and strengthening the national land bank movement. More »

Make It Home National Replication Initiative  We launched an initiative to explore whether tax-foreclosed occupied-to-owner programs like Detroit’s Make It Home initiative could work elsewhere in the United States. More »

The technical assistance provided by the Center for Community Progress helped energize and pull together several initiatives that were underway within the City of Dallas. Their work proved to us that we were on the right path and, most importantly, provided us with tangible recommendations that we have implemented to take the all-important next step. The Blight Task Force is now a living, working, functioning group!

Kris Sweckard, Director of Code Compliance for the City of Dallas