New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas today announced the launch of a new $50 million Land Bank Initiative, the first-ever dedicated source of state funding to help New York’s land banks reduce blight and transform vacant properties in communities across the state.
Incorporated land banks can apply now online for Phase 1 of the initiative which allocates $15 million to assist in land bank operations.
HCR plans to release an additional $20 million in Fall 2022 and another $15 million in early 2023 to be used for capital services and expenses including property acquisition, selective demolition, and rehabilitation.
Commissioner Visnauskas said, “New York has more than two dozen land banks that play a critical role in alleviating the negative effects of vacancy and blight on families, businesses, and our communities. This $50 million in dedicated funding will be strategically paired with other innovative HCR programs so that we can help breathe new life into dilapidated properties across New York. Our thanks to Governor Hochul for making land banks a priority in the new State Budget and empowering these forward-thinking organizations to make a difference across New York.”
New York’s first land banks were established after passage of the New York Land Bank Act in 2011. These nonprofit organizations partner with government entities to strengthen communities by acquiring, stabilizing, and facilitating the redevelopment of blighted and abandoned properties, returning them to productive use, and growing local property tax bases.
Land banks operate primarily in communities with high concentrations of vacant properties, many of which are the result of the 2008 foreclosure crisis. What started as 10 land banks has grown to 26 organizations operating from Long Island to Buffalo. New York’s land banks have generated over $250 million in private investment, demolished nearly 1,200 blighted structures, and returned over 2,400 properties totaling more than $100 million in assessed value back to productive use.
The new Land Bank Initiative will also allow land banks to access additional HCR programs, including the $25 million Legacy Cities Home Ownership Program, which launched in 2021 and is specifically dedicated to renovating portfolios of vacant single-family homes with a priority for localities with active land banks.