Zombie Homes Eat Millions in Property Values

Zombie properties along with bank and federally-owned foreclosed homes may have decreased property values by as much as $11 million in Monroe County and the city of Rochester, New York according to a new report released by the state Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference.

Poorly maintained zombie homes “are having a real impact on people who have had nothing to do with the foreclosure crisis,” said Klein. “These people are still being affected by these dilapidated properties.” Click here for the full story.

To Tackle Blight, Kansas City Will Crunch The Numbers

Tackling blight is expensive. Kansas City, Kansas, is betting that data can reverse decades of urban decay. The Unified Government hopes to address decades of neglect with money from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative. The idea is to connect smaller municipalities with data tools that can help them govern better. The advantage to partnering with Bloomberg is Kansas City, Kansas, won’t have to develop its own infrastructure to fight the problem. It can borrow from what partner cities have learned. Click here for the full story.

L.A. to Convert Motel Units to 500 Apartments for Homeless Vets

The city of Los Angeles has approved a deal for nonprofit and private developers to convert “nuisance” motels into 500 permanent supportive apartments for homeless veterans, a major step forward toward developing large-scale housing for hundreds of homeless veterans. Advocates say about 2,700 homeless veterans remain in the county, despite an intensive drive by local and federal officials.

Under the deal, developers will purchase underutilized, often run-down motels from private owners and convert them to efficiency apartments. The city’s housing authority will issue vouchers funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which will cover residents’ rent and provide supportive services, including case management and counseling. Click here for the full story.

Blight into Beauty One Chain Link Fence at a Time

The mayor of Imperial Beach, California has made it his mission to clean up neighborhoods by tearing down one rusty chain-link fence at a time. He is partnering with nonprofit organizations, such as one that uses sustainable construction techniques to create affordable homes, community centers, creative gathering spaces and other structures out of trash and recyclables, to develop abandoned sites into useful gathering places for the community. Click here for the full story.

Request for Proposals: FY 2017 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant

ANNOUNCING New Request for Proposals- FY 2017 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning (BF AWP) Grant Guidelines
EPA is announcing the availability of funding to eligible entities who wish to develop an area-wide plan for brownfields assessment, cleanup, and subsequent reuse. This funding is for research and/or technical assistance activities directed to one or more brownfield site(s) located in a specific area (such as a neighborhood, downtown or business district, local commercial corridor, community waterfront or city blocks). Each project funded under this grant must result in an area-wide plan which includes specific plan implementation strategies for assessing, cleaning up, and reusing the brownfields site(s) as well as related brownfields and project area revitalization strategies. EPA anticipates awarding approximately 20 projects in total, funded at up to $200,000 each. The proposal submission deadline is August 10, 2016.

Please note that applicants who received a BF AWP grant from EPA in Fiscal Year 2010, 2013 or 2015 (FY10 or FY13 or FY 15) are generally not eligible to apply under this competition. EPA is making an exception for POWER+ (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) applicants. The POWER+ Initiative is an Administration priority that started in FY16 and continues through FY17. A POWER+ applicant must propose one or more eligible catalyst, high priority brownfield site(s) within the same brownfields project area as a coal-fired power plant that has recently closed (2008 or later) or is scheduled to close.

Link to BF AWP grant funding opportunity on www.grants.gov here.

Who wants to be mayor of Richwood? Everybody.

In total, 10 men are vying to be mayor of Richwood, a 2,000-person city in Nicholas County, which, like so many other West Virginia communities, is struggling with a declining population, major industries that peaked decades ago, and a deserted downtown.

This article highlights the type of challenges many small towns in West Virginia face when dealing with blight and abandoned buildings. Click here for the full story.

Property Rescue Workshop in Buckhannon this Friday!

The Property Rescue Initiative (PRI) is a program of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund (WVHDF) that provides $1 million in loan funding for communities to remove or rehabilitate dilapidated buildings.

This Friday, April 1, Buckhannon will host the final installment of a series of PRI workshops in 2016 that will help interested parties access PRI funding and provide technical assistance for locals to address abandoned buildings in their communities. Register now as space is limited.

Anyone interested in accessing a portion of the PRI funding pool to address dilapidated buildings in their community is encouraged to attend.

The full day workshop will feature guest speakers, interactive sessions on stakeholder engagement and the BAD Buildings process, and a panel of experts who will discuss creative ways to repay loans and reuse problem properties. Registration is $15.

Connect with Communities Facing Similar Challenges through the Redevelopment Expert Exchange

Do you have a have a redevelopment success story to share with a fellow West Virginia community? Or, are you looking for a similar community to share lessons learned?

The Redevelopment Expert Exchange (RE2) facilitates redevelopment experience-sharing between West Virginia communities. The program matches redevelopment leaders from across the state with communities facing similar opportunities and challenges, allowing them to learn from the best practices and experiences of their peers across the state. RE2 is also offering a series of webinars throughout 2016 — we will keep you posted once they are announced.

Here are some example topics communities have exchanged:

  • Attracting developers
  • Engaging the media
  • Creating urban redevelopment authorities (URAs)
  • Establishing land reuse agencies
  • Structuring public-private partnerships

 

Read this success story about Wheeling’s successful Vacant Property Registration which they presented to Fairmont through an exchange facilitated by RE2.

re_2_logo_FINALTo learn more about how the WV Redevelopment Expert Exchange works or to request a match in your community, click here.

 

RE2 is a program of the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center.