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VAD Academy

VAD Academy

The VAD Academy – short for Vacant, Abandoned, and Deteriorated Properties Training Academy – is a two-day “boot camp” for public, private, nonprofit, and community leaders working on tough property challenges.  2019 VAD Academy dates coming soon!



Vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties are a major problem in communities around the country. In some places, population loss has led to property abandonment, while in others, speculators are buying up and operating substandard or illegal rental units, or broken property tax enforcement systems are contributing to decline. Many communities face a combination of these and other challenges.


When it comes to developing – or strengthening – a comprehensive strategy to tackle those properties, it can be difficult to know where to begin. So many different departments, organizations, and other stakeholders are involved, and they don’t always speak the same language or meet regularly. The systems involved, like code enforcement or rental regulation, are complicated. The way those systems interact with each other is nuanced and complex. While data-informed decision-making is often the goal, important data about neighborhood conditions is typically found across many different entities, and isn’t aggregated or even comparable. And underlying all stabilization and revitalization efforts, tight municipal budgets constrain every community’s options.


Why the VAD Academy?

Center for Community Progress’ VAD Academy is a critical training opportunity for public, private, and nonprofit leaders working to resolve property vacancy, abandonment, and deterioration. Appropriate for communities just beginning to develop a strategy as well as those seeking to strengthen longstanding efforts, this training is unusual in its comprehensive approach. Rather than focusing narrowly on one particular tool or technique, this rigorous, two-day training equips leaders with the ability to understand and influence cross-cutting systems.


What You'll Learn

Through a mix of interactive classroom sessions and discussion-based group exercises, an expert faculty guides VAD Academy students through these topics:


  • Using Data to Understand Neighborhood Conditions: Understanding the conditions that shape revitalization opportunities and constraints and how to plan accordingly.
  • Property Tax Systems: Reforming tax policies so that they contribute to neighborhood stabilization.
  • Strategic Code Enforcement: Developing code enforcement programs that respond to the varying needs and priorities of different neighborhoods.
  • Rental Regulation: Developing strategies, including registration and licensing programs, to identify and improve rental property conditions.
  • Land Banking: Examining how to use this tool effectively to eliminate properties’ liabilities and return them to productive use.


Who Should Attend 

VAD Academy

The VAD Academy is the right opportunity for government, nonprofit, community, and private sector leaders whose work involves vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties. Attendees may include urban planners, city attorneys, elected officials, local, state, and federal officials, CDC staff, land bank leaders, academics, police officers, code enforcement officials, neighborhood association leaders, developers, representatives from lending institutions, urban policy experts, and more. Attendees representing urban and rural communities experiencing population loss and widespread abandonment, as well as growing communities where some neighborhoods find themselves left behind, will benefit from the VAD Academy. 


If you have questions about the VAD Academy, please contact Courtney Knox, Director of National Leadership and Education, at cknox@communityprogress.net.