The Attorney General of NY, Eric Schneiderman, announced a $500 million settlement with Royal Bank of Scotland on March 6th. A portion of this settlement will be allocated to fund land banks across New York and their mission of returning blighted properties back to productive use. To read the full press release, click here
Charles Touhey, chairman of the Albany County Land Bank's board of directors, writes in today's Albany Times Union:
"Statewide, New York's 23 land banks have leveraged more than $75 million in private investment, renovated more than 400 structures, sold more than 650 properties, and demolished more than 480 blighted structures.
However, there is no adequate funding available for New York land banks beyond the end of 2018. Land banks need adequate and reliable funding to address the significant challenge of vacant properties facing our communities.
The most successful land banks in the nation have secured recurring, adequate and predictable public funding.
With a comparable funding model, New York could bolster the state's already impressive network of land banks (already one of the largest and most active in the U.S.), reverse decades of decline, restore communities, and become the national model for combating blight and improving neighborhoods.
There is still time for our elected representatives to incorporate funding for land banks into the state budget."
Albany County Land Bank continues to ramp up efforts to fight blight. Read the full article here.
"Since its inception in 2014, the county Land Bank has acquired more than 600 properties — buildings and vacant lots — and sold 161, as of Oct. 11. During the last fiscal year (2016-17), the Land Bank sold 73 properties, most of them as homes for the buyers."
"We hope that with the discounted purchase price, the significantly reduced closing costs and targeted marketing we'll be able to get these lots that have little to no value to the land bank into the hands of landowners," land bank Executive Director Adam Zaranko said.
Read the full article here.
A piece in NextCity.org recently highlights the work that NY Land Banks have done in the five years since land banks were first created in New York. You can find the full piece by Rachel Dovey, here.
“This significant market imbalance of supply and demand for housing is a key reason why many New York communities have wrestled with large inventories of problem properties for decades,” the report states. “And it’s under these weak housing market conditions when other barriers and challenges, legal and functional, become more obvious and onerous.”
Through the first 10 land banks created, 1,989 “problem properties” have been acquired. Of those properties, 651 have been sold to private individuals or nonprofit partners, 482 unsafe or dilapidated properties have been razed, and 400 structures have been renovated or stabilized. Cumulatively, those land banks have leveraged about $77 million in private investment and returned $28.4 million to local tax rolls.
But the report emphasizes that those dollar signs don’t paint a complete picture of just how much revitalization land banks add to community value. That goes back to all those public and private costs, in safety and neighborhood value.
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.
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"
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.”
"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.
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."
This article follows several families who purchased homes from the Greater Syracuse Land Bank - some as fixer-uppers and some renovated prior to sale using NY OAG funding in partnership with Home HeadQuarters.
The Greater Syracuse Land Bank is partnering with the Town of DeWitt, agreeing to take title to "zombie properties" that the Town will pursue through eminent domain. Read the full article from www.syracuse.com.
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.
Great piece following up on the work of three land banks in the Capital Region following the recent "Breathing Lights" installation, which did wonders to attract attention to vacant and abandoned properties. Full Article
Yesterday the Greater Syracuse Land Bank held its annual meeting, announcing that after three years of selling property it had just closed on its 400th sale - a single-family home sold under its Home Ownership Choice program to a first-time home-buyer. Read the full WAER story here.
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.
(Episode Aired December 9, 2016)
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.
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.