Community Progress Blog

Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – October 27, 2017

Written by on October 26, 2017

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!

Logan Square neighborhood in Washington D.C. (Credit: flickr user, NCinDC, 2008)


The barriers stopping poor people from moving to better jobs
“[P]laces where the term ‘land use’ has become more and more frequently used in state supreme and appellate court cases–an indication of when cities implement controversial new tactics to restrict construction, and those tactics are then litigated–are also those with the largest growth in housing prices.” 
Alana Semuels | The Atlantic | October 12, 2017


Oakland to turn vacant properties into affordable housing
“[Mayor Libby Schaaf] said, ‘Tax-defaulted properties are a major source of blight in Oakland, depressing neighborhood vitality while draining public resources. Our work with Alameda County and Hello Housing has unlocked a unique tool to address our housing crisis and transform blighted lots into housing that is safe, healthy, and affordable for low-income residents.'”
CBS SF Bay Area | CBS SF Bay Area | October 18, 2017

California fires leave many homeless where housing was already scarce
“Some displaced people likened their path to a gauntlet of fresh blows: real estate prices and rents that were already sky-high before the fires, the complexities of California’s housing, zoning and building regulations, and the environmental problems involved in cleaning up home sites made toxic by the ash from the fire.” 
Kirk Johnson and Conor Dougherty | The New York Times | October 15, 2017


Denver renters facing eviction soon could receive financial aid — and stay in their homes — through new city program  
“The new Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance Program, which will debut in November, is one of three initiatives unveiled Tuesday. The others include legally binding mediation services for tenants and their landlords, and a landlord-tenant guide that spells out rights of tenants and landlords in Denver.” 
Tom McGhee | The Denver Post | October 10, 2017

District of Columbia

New urban farm in D.C. is about more than a food desert
“What’s destined to be the Kelly Miller Farm will not only grow food for the neighborhood, but will also boost its economic well-being through job training programs and a food business incubator.” 
Stephanie Castellano | Next City | October 24, 2017


Louisville announces new program for vacant lots and structures 
“‘Vacant and abandoned properties are a burden to our city and its residents in many ways, including the fact that they often become havens for criminal activity and they reduce neighboring property values,’ Mayor Greg Fischer said. ‘These new programs will give citizens more opportunities to take an active role in beautifying their blocks and giving these properties new life.'”
WAVE 3 News | WAVE 3 News | October 20, 2017


United effort: City, county collaborate on planning codes
“Because the city limits and the suburbs are so close, officials said they want to look for ways to consolidate policy. Though not every rule can be made the same, councilors and commissioners said they don’t want one resident in the city and their neighbor in the Urban Growth Boundary to play by vastly different rules.”
Stephen Floyd | Herald and News | October 15, 2017


Amid mass eviction, Philadelphia considers stronger rental protections 
“Earlier this month, City Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. introduced a bill that would require landlords to provide a “good cause” when seeking to evict tenants after a lease ends. It would also dictate that a landlord who wants to raise rent must first give an existing tenant the chance to accept the new rate. And it would give tenants the right to appeal a landlord’s “good cause” finding to the Fair Housing Commission.” 
Jared Brey | Next City | October 20, 2017

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

(Credit: Newburgh Community Land Bank)

Lifting a small town through a land bank arts program 
“Artist-in-Vacancy” launched this past summer, one of NCLB’s numerous efforts to change the perception of Newburgh to a place of openness and becoming, charged—but not afflicted—by its past. It’s a thread woven throughout all of the land bank’s work, an agency first organized in 2012 as a direct result of the State of New York’s 2011 Land Bank Act.” 
Ben Schulman | CityLab | October 11, 2017


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