The has announced the launch of a $13 million grant program to help municipalities in New York State tackle blight caused by high concentrations of "zombie" properties.
Funded by bank settlement dollars negotiated by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman following the subprime housing market collapse and ensuing economic downturn, the New York Housing Stabilization Fund will support efforts to address the proliferation of homes abandoned under threat of foreclosure. A hundred municipalities — those with at least five thousand residents and a hundred or more vacant properties — will be eligible to apply for funds for projects ranging from outreach to homeowners facing foreclosure, to mapping programs that track vacant properties, to capacity building for agencies charged with code enforcement.
The program is part of LISC's national efforts to create economic opportunity in struggling communities nationwide. To that end, the organization is working with attorneys general in Illinois and Indiana to focus their foreclosure resources on hard-hit neighborhoods.
"The foreclosure crisis continues to devastate families and communities," said Denise Scott, executive vice president at LISC, who joined Schneiderman to announce the program. "Local leaders need these kinds of resources if they are to clean up blighted properties, help at-risk homeowners, and prevent zombies in the future."