Community Progress Blog

Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – March 2, 2018

Written by on March 2, 2018

This is our twice-monthly round-up of news stories covering challenges related to vacant, abandoned, and problem properties — and how communities are transforming these properties into assets. (The headlines are for informational purposes only; inclusion does not indicate endorsement.) If you’d like to get this round-up in your inbox, join our email list!

Home in Cleveland, Ohio (Credit: stu_spivack, flickr user, 2006)

National

How cities are divided by income, mapped
“To visualize the landscape of economic inequality in U.S. cities, the mapping whizzes at ESRI have created a captivating story map with multiple layers. It presents America’s stark income disparities—and in the few places where it exists, income diversity.”
Tanvi Misra | CityLab | February 27, 2018

Does rent control do more harm than good?
“Researchers found that rent control does create substantial benefits for tenants who live in rent-controlled units — but those benefits aren’t shared by society as a whole. In fact, the policy reduced the overall number of rental units on the market, thereby actually driving prices up and worsening the affordability crisis.”
Natalie Delgadillo | Governing | February 14, 2018

Big questions ahead for new tax incentive targeting poor communities
“Tucked into the recently passed tax bill, the Investing in Opportunity Act gives chief executives of every U.S. state and territory up to 120 days (starting from December 22, 2017) to designate low-income census tracts in their state as “Opportunity Zones”, eligible to receive badly needed investments.” 
Oscar Perry Abello | Next City | February 13, 2018

Florida

Puerto Rican evacuees in limbo as hotel vouchers begin to expire
“Of about 3,926 TSA applicants living in FEMA-sponsored hotels around the country, 200 of them — including the 79 in Florida — were notified that they will have to find other housing accommodations as early as Wednesday. According to FEMA, the rest will have until March 20, when the program is set to expire.”
Bianca Padró Ocasio and Jennifer A. Marcial Ocasio | Orlando Sentinel | February 14, 2018

Louisiana

Greater Shreveport fighting predatory lending by tackling banking deserts
“Louisiana has more payday lender storefronts than McDonald’s locations. A scathing 2014 Louisiana state audit found that state regulators charged with regulating the payday lending industry were neglecting their jobs, instead uncovering an impressive range of tactics used to circumvent state regulations and maximize fees charged per customer.”
Oscar Perry Abello | Next City | February 15, 2018

Massachusetts

How the city plans to beat gentrification in Uphams Corner
“[C]ity officials know the waves of gentrification are approaching, and so do the residents of this Dorchester neighborhood, who worry an influx of affluent renters could spur a rise in rent that will drive out longtime low-income residents. In an effort to avoid that fate, the city and its partners are trying to act preemptively, acquiring property before the private real estate market pushes prices too high. ” 
Laura Crimaldi | Boston Globe | February 12, 2018

Pennsylvania 

Erie’s ‘Oasis Project’ finds a home 
“‘What I’m looking for is an urban space where you can come in here and have an experience. A breath of fresh air. An oasis in the middle of a desert,’ [Faith] Kindig said. ‘We want it to be a family friendly place where we can showcase products based out of Erie. Our focus is produce to alleviate the food desert issues, but we are allotting space for different craft vendors and everything.'”
Kevin Flowers | goerie.com | February 28, 2018

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

(Credit: Community Design Solutions)

Eyes on Milwaukee: Revitalizing Silver City 
“When the city acquired the building in 2014 through property tax foreclosure, the mayor acknowledged that plenty of people within the city thought it was likely to be demolished. And if you look only at the budget for the project versus the expected assessed value they were probably right. But that would miss the overarching goal of how [Layton Boulevard West Neighbors] and other stakeholders are working literally building by building to revitalize the Silver City neighborhood.”
Jeramey Jannene | Urban Milwaukee | February 21, 2018

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