New York Land Banks Set New Standard for Success: Five-Year Report Illustrates Progress in the Fight Against Blight

Today, the New York Land Bank Association (NYLBA) released New York State Land Banks: A New National Standard, summarizing the first five years of land bank activity since the state’s passage of the 2011 Land Bank Act. The report serves as a resource for local officials, state leaders, public and private funders, and other parties to learn the strategies and achievements of land banks in combating vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties.

New York State Land Banks: A New National Standard, published in partnership with the Center for Community Progress, highlights the impact of New York land banks’ critical stewardship of 1,989 acquired vacant and abandoned properties through stabilization/renovation, demolition where necessary, and responsible disposition with clear development goals and beneficial uses.  As of the end of 2016, NYLBA’s members have leveraged approximately $32 million in initial funding from the New York Attorney General’s Office to attract over $77 million in private development investment and return over $28 million in assessed value to the tax rolls. As the professional association for New York land banks, NYLBA offers legal and policy guidance, public
advocacy, and a forum for sharing best practices and new ideas. A major focus of NYLBA going forward will be identifying and pursuing recurring, reliable sources of funding for the state’s land banks.

You can read the full report here.

Rochester land bank awarded $1.5 million to fix vacant home issues

WHAM Rochester reports on $1.5 million granted to the Rochester Land Bank Corporation.

"The Rochester Land Bank Corporation (RLBC) was awarded $1,500,000. The money will serve three programs in the area:

  • Up to ten blighted buildings will be demolished
  • Homeownership Assistance Program for Vacant Houses will help first-time homeowners to purchase vacant homes with subsidies for renovations
  • An affordable rental housing project that will produce at least 20 units of affordable housing"

A.G. Schneiderman Announces $20 million in Land Bank Grants

ALBANY – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced $20.9 million in new grants to 19 land banks that are working to protect homeowners and neighborhoods across the state by acquiring abandoned properties and returning them to productive use.  This new funding brings Attorney General Schneiderman’s total investment in land banks to $57 million since 2013.

The grants were awarded under the Land Bank Community Revitalization Initiative (CRI). The Office of the Attorney General established the initiative in 2013 with funding secured through settlements with the nation’s largest banks over misconduct that contributed to the housing crisis. As of November 2016, when the Office of the Attorney General published “Revitalizing New York State,” a report on the land bank initiative, the New York land banks had: 

  • Reclaimed more than 1,995 abandoned properties
  • Returned over 700 properties to market
  • Demolished 409 unstable structures
  • Preserved $19 million in property value for surrounding homes

This round of funding, which was made possible by settlements the Attorney General secured last year with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, provides renewal grants to the state’s original ten land banks and start-up grants to nine more newly established land banks, many of which are in rural areas across the state.

“Communities throughout New York are still suffering the fallout from the housing crisis, and my office will continue to support innovative efforts to help them recover,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “With today’s round of grants, all 19 land banks will build on the significant accomplishments already achieved over the past three years, helping put abandoned properties back into use, revitalizing towns and cities, and creating a safer, more stable, and more vibrant environment for New York’s families.”

“The Land Banks of New York State are specially crafted tools, customized to each locality, that compliment the private market, and the programs of not-for-profit developers and municipalities,” said Joe Fama, Director of the Troy Community Land Bank. “We are thankful to the Attorney General for the wisdom and generosity with which he has created and supplied these innovative and effective instruments of renewal for the disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout our state. Today's announcement is a welcome show of continued confidence and support in the accomplishments and potential of New York State's Land Banks.”

'Zombie' brought back to life in Kenmore

"The home in recent months was gutted, down to the studs, and rehabbed by Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corporation, the local land bank, which obtained the home in a donation from JPMorgan Chase... The land bank is "an excellent tool" to deal with the zombie foreclosure crisis but not a cure-all, said Kate Lockhart, a staff paralegal at the Western New York Law Center, which assists homeowners faced with foreclosure. "

Read the full article from The Buffalo News here.

A formerly vacant house in the Village of Kenmore was rehabbed by the Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corporation and will soon be sold. Officials marked the completion of the project Tuesday with a ribbon cutting. Photo from buffalonews.com March 14, 2017.

A formerly vacant house in the Village of Kenmore was rehabbed by the Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corporation and will soon be sold. Officials marked the completion of the project Tuesday with a ribbon cutting. Photo from buffalonews.com March 14, 2017.

Vacant Syracuse houses will be transformed into bright spots using kids' art

"The Syracuse Land Bank, which owns 800 vacant properties, will be putting kids' art in the windows of rundown houses they walk by daily on their way to school."

Read the full article on syracuse.com.

 

A vacant home owned by the Syracuse Landbank at 301 Loomis Ave. will have its window boards painted by local students as part of a city-wide art project the Landbank is beginning. (provided by Logan Reidsma)

A vacant home owned by the Syracuse Landbank at 301 Loomis Ave. will have its window boards painted by local students as part of a city-wide art project the Landbank is beginning. (provided by Logan Reidsma)

Albany County Land Bank Grows

Learn more about the fast-growing Albany County Land Bank in this piece by WAMC Northeast Public Radio.

"In less than three years of operation, Albany County Land Bank says it has acquired more than 350 vacant and abandoned properties, made more than 120 property improvements and enabled more than 70 properties to return to productive use throughout Albany County. The Land Bank says it has invested more than $2 million into stabilizing neighborhoods, incentivized an additional $2 million in private investment and enabled the return of more than $1 million of assessed value back to the tax rolls."

Albany Land Bank a finalist in national vacant properties scholarship program

The Albany County Land Bank has been announced as one of five finalist in the most recent round of applications for a training program run by the Center for Community Progress. The Technical Assistance Scholarship Program (TASP) program brings a task force of experts to communities around the country, to work with local officials on developing new plans, policies, and regulations to address blighted and abandoned properties. Read more about Albany's application here.

Greater Syracuse Land Bank on WCNY's "Insight"

Katelyn Wright, the Greater Syracuse Land Bank’s executive director, and Paul Driscoll, the City’s Commissioner of Neighborhood & Business Development, were interviewed on the December 9, 2016 episode of WCNY’s “Insight.” This episode features an interview with Rihine D. Hinds, a local electrical contractor who purchased 236 Hillsdale Ave. from the Land Bank in March 2016.  Mr. Hinds purchased this house to renovate for him and his family and this segment highlights his experience buying from the Land Bank and their renovation project in-progress.

VIEW THE EPISODE

(Episode Aired December 9, 2016)

NY Land Bank Association's 2016 Conference

The NY Land Bank Association hosted its annual conference in Syracuse, NY last week. Staff and board members from 14 of the state's 18 land banks and from one community applying to create a land bank came together for two days of education and training sessions and to share information with one another. We were briefly joined by Senator David Valeksy (near the right in this photo), one of the sponsors of the NY Land Bank Act signed into law in 2011 and sponsor of numerous amendments to the Act passed in recent years.

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A.G. Schneiderman Announces $20 Million In New Funding For Land Banks To Support Communities Struggling From Foreclosure Crisis

Funding Secured Through Schneiderman’s 2016 Settlements With Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Over Misconduct That Contributed To Housing Crisis

Requests For Funding Will Be Accepted From Eight New Land Banks Primarily In Rural Communities Upstate, Plus State’s Original 10 Land Banks

New Funding Comes As A.G. Report Finds New York’s Original 10 Land Banks Have Successfully Reclaimed More Than 1,900 Blighted Homes, Saved More Than $19 Million In Homeowner Equity Statewide Since 2013

Since 2013, A.G. Schneiderman has provided more than $33 million to land banks with funding secured through settlements with the nation’s largest banks over misconduct that contributed to the housing crisis. This latest funding, made possible by settlements announced earlier this year with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, will be offered through a competitive Request for Proposals to the state’s original 10 land banks, as well as the newest eight land banks which have formed in the last year and which are located primarily in rural communities throughout upstate New York.