Building Trades

Bringing Vacant Properties Back To Life

August 30, 2016 

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

By Tara Jessup

Newburgh, NY – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has developed a pilot program to rebuild decaying properties, revitalize neighborhoods, and expand affordable rental housing.

New York State land banks will provide $4 million in subsidies for everyday New Yorkers to take over abandoned properties in their neighborhood – at little or no cost – and rehabilitate them into affordable rental housing.

“Too many communities across this state are still plagued by the blight of vacant and abandoned properties, while at the same time suffering from a critical shortage of affordable housing,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Neighbors for Neighborhoods helps communities reclaim their neighborhoods from blight and will help generate the affordable housing stock that New York families need. Just as important, it empowers the people who have the most at stake in revitalizing their communities—the community members themselves. This is truly a win-win.”

Created with affordable housing and community development nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise), the program requires the new housing units to remain affordable for at least 20 years. Funding for the program will come from the Attorney General’s 2014 and 2015 settlements with Citigroup and Bank of America over the banks’ conduct leading up to the 2008 housing crash. This grant program will be administered by Enterprise, which for more than 30 years has created affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income communities across the country.  In early fall, Enterprise will invite the 16 land banks across the state to submit their qualifications and select those land banks that demonstrates the capacity to oversee the rehabilitation of the properties and enforce the long-term affordable-rental requirement. Land banks projects have reclaimed over 1,600 abandoned properties across the state since 2013.

In exchange for the property and the renovation subsidy, the new property owners will convert the properties to affordable low- and moderate-income rental units for local families. This $4 million investment is estimated to yield up to 80 affordable rental homes for working families in the cities and towns where land banks are active.

August 29, 2016

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