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Past TASP Recipients 


The Technical Assistance Scholarship Program (TASP) is a competitive, merit-based scholarship program for select communities that are ready to engage in a forward-thinking technical assistance process to assess, reform, develop, and/or implement systems to address large-scale vacancy and abandonment in their communities. View below summaries from past TASP recipient communities, as well as the final reports Community Progress produced through the TASP engagement.

 

Albany, New York (2017) 

Focus Areas: Land Banking and Community Partnerships; Vacant Land Maintenance and Reuse; Developing a Comprehensive Approach to Vacancy and Abandonment

Download the report (PDF)

Community Progress worked with the Albany County Land Bank (ACLB) in exploring partnership opportunities with the Albany Community Land Trust (ACLT), which provided a unique opportunity to address the key challenges that land banks and community land trusts across the country have identified as critical to establishing meaningful and sustained partnerships. Through this engagement, four specific projects were identified and pursued: (1) the Inclusive Neighborhoods Program, an innovative new disposition program by ACLB that prioritizes community land trust homeownership opportunities in some of Albany’s more stable neighborhoods with stronger housing markets; (2) a flexible Community Maintenance and Stewardship Pilot Program, which will involve ACLT residents serving as seasonal land stewards for a batch of vacant lots owned by the ACLB; (3) the creation of a Vacant Land Working Group, with strong resident and community representation and led by ACLB and ACLT leaders, embedded within the City of Albany’s new Vacant Buildings Task Force; and (4) the 3rd Street Corridor Pilot of Breathing Blocks, a block-level investment strategy that aims to encourage all local partners to prioritize and invest resources in a more strategic, coordinated, and impactful manner.

 

Huntington, West Virginia (2017) 

Focus Areas: Delinquent Tax Enforcement Systems

Download the report (PDF)

Community Progress worked with the Huntington Urban Renewal Authority, the West Virginia Community Development Hub, and the Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center at West Virginia University to summarize the West Virginia delinquent tax enforcement system, describe the human and economic costs of vacancy and abandonment in West Virginia, discern possible links between vacancy, abandonment, and the current delinquent tax enforcement system, and articulate avenues for policy reform. The final report includes: a) a summary of the West Virginia delinquent tax enforcement system told through the story of two hypothetical properties, and recommendations for local best practices, legislative reform, and data collection moving forward, b) a first-of-its kind infographic depicting the West Virginia delinquent tax enforcement system, c) a summary of a statewide survey conducted by the West Virginia Community Development Hub to seek out the human costs of vacancy, and d) a summary of municipal costs related to vacancy and abandonment in Huntington and suggestions for improved data collection.

 

Memphis, Tennessee (2017) 

Focus Areas: Delinquent Property Tax Enforcement Systems; Strategic Code Enforcement; Developing a Comprehensive Approach to Vacancy and Abandonment

Download the report (PDF)

Community Progress worked with the Blight Authority of Memphis (BAM), along with other local and statewide coalition partners, to provide an analysis of the code enforcement system, the delinquent tax enforcement system, and land banking, and how these three legal tools can be modified and aligned to achieve maximum effectiveness and efficiency in addressing vacancy and abandonment in Tennessee. Through this analysis, three areas were identified as impeding the optimal utilization of these tools: (1) these tools do not provide insurable and marketable title in the event of transfer to a new owner; (2) these tools are not being used in a coordinated and proactive manner, and (3) there is inadequate anticipation of the appropriate transferee of the property. In the context of analyzing each tool, the report presents some basic observations and suggests a range of potential statutory and policy recommendations. 

 

Baltimore, Maryland (2016) 

Focus Area: Delinquent Property Tax Enforcement Systems

Download the report (PDF)

Community Progress worked with City and community stakeholders to evaluate the City’s tax sale system, which local leaders identified as contributing to the ongoing cycle of property vacancy and abandonment in the City of Baltimore. The report provides a general overview of observations that range from abolishing the sale of tax liens through changes in local policy and operations, and includes recommendations to create a system that supports the maximum collection of property tax revenue, protects the most vulnerable residents, and returns vacant properties to productive reuse. An appendix to the report also contains draft legislation intended to provide a new system for property tax enforcement in Maryland. 

 

High Point North Carolina (2016) 

Focus Areas: Strategic Code Enforcement; Delinquent Property Tax Enforcement Systems; Data Systems; Community Education and Partnerships

Download the report (PDF)

Community Progress worked with the City of High Point to explore more strategic approaches to housing and building code enforcement with a unique focus on equity, as well as educate City and County officials on the need for reforms to the enforcement of delinquent property taxes. Both objectives also revealed the need to address deficiencies in data management systems and sharing practices, and to foster deeper community partnerships around a shared vision of stronger, healthier neighborhoods. The report offers City officials a candid assessment of existing operations, practices and policies, a compelling case to move away from the status quo, and a comprehensive list of recommendations toward a more effective, efficient and equitable approach to addressing vacant, abandoned and deteriorated properties in High Point. 

 

Rockford, Illinois (2016) 

Focus Areas: Strategic Code Enforcement; Delinquent Property Tax Enforcement Systems; Data Systems; Community Education and Partnerships

Download the report (PDF)

Credit: Daniel X. O'Neil, flickr, 2013

Community Progress worked with the City of Rockford to assess existing policy and legal systems, map the process of both housing and building code enforcement and delinquent tax enforcement, and identify key leverage points by which Rockford could intervene and address the further decline of those properties deemed to be generating the most harm to neighbors and neighborhoods. The report describes Rockford’s opportunity to foster long-term partnerships across sectors, build knowledge of and consensus on strategic approaches, and lay the groundwork for more effective implementation pursuant to a data-driven, systems-based, comprehensive approach to vacancy and abandonment.  

 

Cleveland, Ohio (2015-2016)

Focus Area: Economic Analysis of Vacant Land Reuse

Download the report (PDF)

Community Progress worked with Reimagining Cleveland and the City of Cleveland to conduct a comparative analysis of the economic impacts of different greening interventions carried out the last five years within the City by a range of partners. While the research concluded there was minimal to no impact of greening interventions on house sales, tax delinquency, and crime rates, the report raises a number of insights and questions that hope to challenge and inspire both practitioners and researchers in this area of work. 

 

Lucas County, Ohio (2015-2016)

Focus Areas: Vacant Land Maintenance and Reuse; Cost of Blight Analysis

Open Space PlanDownload the report (PDF)

Cost of Blight Analysis Download the report (PDF)

Community Progress worked with the Lucas County Land Bank and the City of Toledo, Ohio, on inventorying and prioritizing potential reuse options for vacant parcels in the Junction neighborhood, a historic African-American neighborhood with a high vacancy rate. We completed a cost of blight study for the City of Toledo, which measures blight’s public costs and impact on property values in the city. The open space action plan identifies priority vacant land reuse opportunities consistent with resident priorities and a new framework for ownership, maintenance, and reuse of the extensive inventory of vacant land in the Junction neighborhood.

 

St. Louis, Missouri (2015-2016)

Focus Area: Building Consensus on a Comprehensive Approach to Vacancy and Abandonment

Download the report (PDF)

Credit: romaryka, flickr, 2009

Community Progress worked with the City of St. Louis, the Land Reutilization Authority of St. Louis, and critical community partners to build broad consensus on a new vision and strategies for addressing vacancy and abandonment. The report outlines the City’s new vision, and identifies a comprehensive list of goals, strategies, and actions to be pursued in order to achieve a more impactful and collaborative approach to vacancy and abandonment. 

 

Dallas, Texas (2015)

Focus Area: Building Consensus on a Comprehensive Approach to Vacancy and Abandonment

Download the report (PDF)

Community Progress worked with the City of Dallas and community partners to identify key priorities and needs in building a more effective approach to vacancy and abandonment, and then designed, convened, and led a nearly two-day planning retreat that focused on those findings. The goals of the retreat were to explore opportunities for more effective management and use of data, to improve coordination among departments, and to address the lack of capacity and knowledge among City leaders and partners in order to pursue a more efficient and effective approach to vacant, abandoned, and deteriorating properties in the City of Dallas. The report summarizes a number of actions and cost-effective interventions the City can pursue to achieve each of these three key goals.

 

Gary, Indiana (2015)  

Focus Areas: Strategic Code Enforcement; Delinquent Property Tax Enforcement Systems; Data Systems

Download the report (PDF)

Community Progress provided the City of Gary with a diagnostic review and assessment of the City’s systems and practices as it relates to data collection and management, code enforcement, and delinquent tax enforcement, in order to provide the City with the tools and knowledge needed to strategically tackle widespread vacancy and abandonment in Gary. The report evaluates data management and sharing practices, maps the process of code enforcement in the City, and analyzes trends in delinquent tax enforcement in an effort to identify operational and policy alternatives in order to help the City build a more strategic approach to vacancy and abandonment.

 

Trenton, New Jersey (2015)

Focus Areas: Data Systems; Developing a Comprehensive Approach to Vacancy and Abandonment

Download the report (PDF)

Credit: David Wilson, flickr, 2014

Community Progress worked with the City of Trenton and Isles, a key community partner, on assessing opportune ways to improve the City’s information management systems and data sharing practices, while also identifying appropriate strategies, policies, programs, and partnerships in support of the City’s efforts to stabilize neighborhoods. The report outlines key recommendations, including the creation of a task force, development of a multi-year revitalization strategy, creation of strong partnerships across multiple-sectors, and reforming data management systems and sharing practices to help drive strategic decision-making in tackling problem properties and stabilizing neighborhoods in Trenton.  

 

Detroit, Michigan (2015)

Focus Area: Vacant Land Maintenance and Reuse

Download the report (PDF)

Community Progress worked with Detroit Future City to explore long-term ownership, funding, and reuse options for nearly 13 square miles of vacant land in the city, as part of an eventual open space plan for the City of Detroit. The report gives an overview of a number of different ownership models and funding mechanisms for large-scale, long-term open space reuse, and provides recommendations for possible open space land uses for the City, such as urban farming, biofuel, green stormwater infrastructure, and greenways. This project laid the groundwork for the City to embark on a more comprehensive open space planning process in the future. 

 

Atlanta, Georgia (2014) 

Focus Areas: Strategic Code Enforcement; Delinquent Property Tax Enforcement Systems

Download the report (PDF)

Community Progress worked with staff and elected leadership at the City of Atlanta on the utilization of delinquent property tax enforcement systems in coordination with housing and building code enforcement to strengthen municipal responses to blight, vacancy, and abandonment in distressed neighborhoods. Building off the local knowledge of our Atlanta-based staff, we challenged city and county officials to consider a paradigm shift in how to address code violators within existing but underutilized local and state statutes for more effective results. This is one of the first reports in which we outline in detail, using a hypothetical abandoned property, a “Fix it Up, Pay it Up, Give it Up!” approach to achieve a more effective, efficient, and equitable code enforcement system.

 

Butte-Silver Bow, Montana (2014)

Focus Area: Developing a Comprehensive Approach to Vacancy and Abandonment

Download the report (PDF)

Credit: Orin Blomberg, flickr, 2016

Community Progress worked with the City-County of Butte-Silver Bow, an area with a rich history of copper mining, to conduct a general assessment of systems and practices in order to build a more holistic approach to vacancy and abandonment. The report offers a detailed account of observations and findings, and provides an extensive menu of recommendations that touch on programs, strategies, operations, and policies.

 

Lafayette, Louisiana (2014) 

Focus Area: Data Systems

Download the report (PDF)

Community Progress assembled a team of geographic information and technology experts to review existing property data collection and management practices and recommend solutions that will not only help to integrate interdepartmental property and neighborhood data, but also take advantage of existing local technology and infrastructure. Our report outlines some short-term actions Lafayette could take to further the integration of data and improve data management practices, better positioning the community to proactively identify and address problem properties.