Syracuse sees significant and sustained drop in vacant homes

“Syracuse sees significant and sustained drop in vacant homes”

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) The City of Syracuse is experiencing significant and sustained declines in vacant housing.

Since 2017, the City has seen the number of vacant residential properties drop by 12.3%.

The City’s Department of Neighborhood and Business Development estimates that in 2015, there were 1,886 vacant residential properties in the City.

That number has dropped by nearly 400, representing a total decline in vacant residential structures of nearly 21% during the five year period to date.

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Housing Visions formally opens Ethel T. Chamberlain House in Syracuse

“Housing Visions formally opens Ethel T. Chamberlain House in Syracuse”

Housing Visions on Friday formally opened the Ethel T. Chamberlain House, an $8.2 million supportive-housing development located at 664 W. Onondaga St. in Syracuse.  Ethel T. Chamberlain, which Housing Visions describes as a “long-vacant” apartment building, is a former Greater Syracuse Land Bank property.  The 26,000-square-foot building includes a 15-bed shelter for “chronically homeless” women struggling with mental health or substance-abuse issues. The shelter component will include 24 hour on site supportive case-management services.

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Greater Syracuse Land Bank Awarded $2 million From the Land Bank Community Revitalization Initiative By Enterprise Community Partners

“Greater Syracuse Land Bank Awarded $2 million From the Land Bank Community Revitalization Initiative By Enterprise Community Partners”

The Greater Syracuse Land Bank is proud to announce that we have been awarded another $2 million in Community Revitalization Initiative funding, awarded by Enterprise Community Partners. The Greater Syracuse Land Bank has received nearly $7 million in CRI funds to date, enabling us to demolish 97 structures and work with our partners to renovate or build new 76 homes. These funds will enable the Land Bank to continue its efforts to revitalize neighborhoods by addressing blighted and abandoned properties.

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Syracuse Land Bank looks to city for funding help

“Syracuse Land Bank looks to city for funding help”

“In an annual report to Common Councilors, Wright pointed out how the agency over the last five years has not only cleared out blight in city neighborhoods, but has helped the city bottom line, bringing in millions in formerly uncollected taxes, as well as $19 million in private renovation investment of the 537 properties it sold.

Land Bank Executive Director Katelyn Wright said without some help, the organization that buys dilapidated tax delinquent city properties with the goal of selling or demolishing them, will be out of savings soon.

“If things keep going the way they’re going, we’ll deplete our fund balance by the first quarter of 2021,” said Wright.

So she’s hoping to get some help from the city and is asking Mayor Ben Walsh to include some funding for the Land Bank in his upcoming budget.

“If there was $500,000 for property maintenance, that would almost cover our operating deficit,” she said. “That would really help us avoid spending down our fund balance. And we’ve also asked for $500,000 for demolitions.”

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Land Bank delivers annual report to Common Council

“Land Bank delivers annual report to Common Council”

The Greater Syracuse Land Bank was established in 2012, acquiring its first properties in October 2013.  Its mission is to acquire, stabilize, and return vacant and abandoned properties to productive use.  Since then the Land Bank has:

  • Enabled the City of Syracuse to collect $10.6 million in previously uncollectable overdue taxes from property owners who are noticed and pay to avoid foreclosure.
  • Acquired 1,432 properties
  • Demolished 229 blighted properties
  • Sold 537 properties
    • Leveraging $19 million in private renovation investment
    • Returned to taxable status, these properties generate nearly $1 million in local property tax annually
    • 45% of all residential structures sold have become owner occupied.
    • 91% of all buyers reside within Onondaga County and 77% in the City of Syracuse.

Land Bank Board of Directors Chairman, Vito Sciscioli, and Executive Director, Katelyn Wright, will brief the Syracuse Common Council’s Neighborhood Preservation Committee Monday, March 26, at 2:00 PM in the Common Council Chambers.

“I’m pleased to share the Land Bank’s success with the Councilors and continue to discuss operational improvements,” Wright said, “The Land Bank is providing a valuable public service at a scale previously not attempted in Syracuse – maintaining abandoned properties more cost effectively than the City has been able to and returning them to productive use at a faster rate than was previously possible.  We should all be proud of the successes we have enjoyed to date.  Syracuse is doing more to proactively address abandoned properties than any other NY community with a land bank.”

“We’ve set up a business model where, as the default recipient of foreclosed properties, this service can be largely supported by the sale of foreclosed properties, but we are facing some challenges in the coming years for which we need the City’s support.  Firstly, the sale of properties does not bring in enough revenue to fully support the Land Bank’s operations.  Public financial support is needed annually to cover our structural operating deficit.  The City can afford to provide this financial support since they benefit financially from the Land Bank’s work in several ways: 1) Partnership with the Land Bank is enabling the City to collect previously uncollectable delinquent property taxes, 2) Previously tax-delinquent properties sold by the Land Bank and returned to the rolls are now paying taxes on-time, 3) prior to foreclosure it is the City’s responsibility to maintain abandoned properties (mowing lawns, boarding windows, etc.) and once they foreclose this burden is shifted to the Land Bank.  Secondly, we need the City’s support to address blight removal.  This expense is outside of our normal operating budget and the Land Bank currently owns 225 demolition candidates and dozens of other buildings that we can prevent from becoming demolition candidates by repairing or replacing roofs.  This work is an investment in stabilizing and growing property values and the local tax base and it will pay long term dividends for the City and the County.”

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A.G. Schneiderman Announces $500 Million Settlement With Royal Bank Of Scotland Over Misconduct Leading Up To Financial Crisis

“A.G. Schneiderman Announces $500 Million Settlement With Royal Bank Of Scotland Over Misconduct Leading Up To Financial Crisis”

“While the financial crisis may be behind us, New Yorkers are still feeling the effects of the housing crash,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Home values plummeted. Vacant homes consumed neighborhoods. And for many New Yorkers, affordable housing fell out of reach. Today’s settlement is another important step in our comprehensive effort to help New Yorkers rebuild their lives and communities. I am proud of the extraordinary housing programs these settlements have funded across New York, from Brookhaven to Buffalo – and today’s settlement will fund even more community revitalization initiatives for years to come.”

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NY’s land banks need long-term funding commitment from state

“NY’s land banks need long-term funding commitment from state”

Editorial from Greater Syracuse Land Bank Executive Director, Katelyn Wright, outlines challenges faced by land banks across NY and points to Ohio as a model to follow in providing structural support for fighting blight.

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