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AG awards $26M to NY land banks

Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood announced $25.9 million in new funding for all New York State land banks that work to protect homeowners and neighborhoods by acquiring blighted homes and transforming them into community assets.

This latest round of funding will be administered by Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

Since 2013, the Attorney General’s office has provided more than $82 million to land banks from funding it secured through settlements with the nation’s largest banks over misconduct that contributed to the housing crisis. This latest funding was secured through Martin Act securities fraud settlements announced earlier this year with the Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS.

“Land banks are a pivotal part of revitalizing and rebuilding neighborhoods across the state,” said Attorney General Underwood. “Thanks to funding secured by my office’s settlements with the big banks, we’ve been able to invest in cities and towns across New York still recovering from the foreclosure crisis.”

During the decade of the housing boom and bust from 2000 to 2010, the number of vacant properties in New York State increased by 27 percent. Following the collapse of the housing market, the New York State Legislature passed a law in 2011 establishing land banks — nonprofit organizations that can acquire vacant, abandoned, or foreclosed properties and rebuild, demolish, or redesign them. There are currently 25 New York land banks, all of which submitted responses to a Request for Applications issued by Enterprise; all will receive funding for 2019-2020 through this latest round.

According to the New York Land Bank Association’s 2017 New York State Land Bank Report, land banks in New York have:

Reclaimed 1,989 properties from abandonment and blight;

Sold 651 properties to individuals or nonprofit organizations;

Demolished 482 unstable structures.

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