Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple TNP worker Racheal Miller, 22, of Newton Falls, boards up a window on a house on Prospect St. in Niles.
The employees are trained to salvage materials from properties scheduled to be demolished as well as doing landscaping and maintenance at properties that already have been demolished.
Source: Program creates jobs, removes blight | News, Sports, Jobs – Tribune Chronicle
United Workers, an advocacy group, founded the Baltimore Housing Roundtable in 2013, by bringing 25 different organizations together to confront affordable-housing issues in the city. The group advocates the city to set up a land bank to expedite the conversion of vacant houses and properties to affordable housing and grant priority to ex-offenders for employment and training to work on such projects. It recommended “deconstruction” a process that will allow for more job opportunities and recycling of building materials.
Source: Mayor Catherine Pugh Calls For $40 Million Investment Each Year In Deconstruction Projects And Affordable Housing | Town of Morningside Maryland
Neighborhoods where the new strategies have been applied have seen home prices rise 31% over four years, compared with a 1% rise in comparable areas, according to a study by Ira Goldstein of the Reinvestment Fund. The initiatives increased home values by $74 million throughout Philadelphia, Goldstein said, and brought in $2.2 million more in transfer tax receipts.
Philadelphia had been spending millions of dollars a year to tear down vacant properties, and it didn’t seem to be making much headway, said Rebecca Swanson, who directs the city’s vacant building strategy. So in 2011, city officials decided to try a strategy they hoped would prevent properties from becoming run down in the first place.
The city utilized software used by the IRS to track down owners of the vacant buildings. Then the city took the owners to a newly created Blight Court. The door and window ordinance also allows the city to attach liens to property owners’ other personal property, including, in some cases, mansions in the suburbs.
“That was the whole point, to catch them early, cite them for doors and windows, and hopefully that incentivizes the owner to come out of the woodwork and do something,” Swanson said.
via City of Brotherly Love finally tackles neighborhood blight – latimes.com.
The Land Bank buys a vacant property that is still valuable and “banks” it for rehabilitation, or demolition to be re-sold and returned to the tax rolls.
“The entire community starts picking itself up once you start removing the blight,” says Lackawanna Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski.
The mayor says the Land Bank is helping his city, which he says can no longer afford to “fight the blight” on its own.
“With the Land Bank, we will be able to refurbish homes that are not in blighted condition, refurbish them, and sell them to somebody who wants to become a responsible homeowner,” he explained.
via Land Bank is fighting “urban blight” in the suburbs | Buffalo News, Buffalo Weather | WIVB-TV News 4 Buffalo, NY | WIVB.com.
The first question is how a city can move these vacancies into the hands of owners who are willing and able to repair, build and improve the sites. The second question is what to do when no such owners exist. On both counts, American cities are putting forth a variety of answers, from dollar homes to sprawling urban farms. At the end of the line, they hope, is a revitalized urban landscape. It may not look much like what came before.
At the center of the vacant property renaissance is the land bank, a city authority that can take control over thousands of abandoned homes and turn them into something the community needs, housing or otherwise. Michigan has dozens of land banks. In Cleveland, the Cuyahoga Land Bank demolished its 2,000th property last month. Chicago and Philadelphia are on the verge of having land banks of their own.
“In the past 24 months alone, five states have enacted comprehensive land bank legislation,” says Frank S. Alexander, a professor at Emory Law School in Atlanta who helped write those laws. The land bank concept has an appeal that transcends geographic and economic borders. ”New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Missouri, Nebraska. What do those states have in common? Absolutely nothing.”
via Abandoned homes are the future: Imaginative ideas turn blight into beauty – Salon.com.
In the past two years, Alexander and his Community Progress team — which includes Emory Law alumni Leslie Powell and Sara Toering — have also aided the passage of land bank legislation in Georgia, Missouri, New York and Pennsylvania.
Simply put, land banks offer an effective tool for public officials to acquire, hold, manage, develop and/or resell problem properties, putting them back into productive use for neighborhood restoration, community investment and development, Alexander says.
And in recent years, the demand for help with establishing land banking reforms has only grown. “One of the reasons we created the Center for Community Progress was simply the volume of requests we were receiving from around the country,” he explains.
For struggling communities, the costs can be considerable: A 2010 study commissioned in Philadelphia found vacant and abandoned properties cost the city more than $20 million in annual maintenance costs and $2 million annually in lost tax revenues — not to mention the impact to community vitality and cohesion, Alexander notes.
via Land banks: A tool for managing urban blight | Emory University | Atlanta, GA.