Strategy HC6.1: Identify funding opportunities and encourage the reuse of abandoned, vacant, and tax-delinquent properties, including brownfield properties, for affordable housing in urbanized areas or near employment centers.
The process of facilitating the reuse of disinvested properties involves identifying reinvestment opportunities, acquiring and stabilizing disinvested properties, disposing of properties for rehabilitation or redevelopment, and coordinating reinvestment decisions to meet local affordable housing needs and other strategic goals. Both small and large changes can help communities to achieve a more deliberate and streamlined system for converting blight into community assets.
Some communities use a unified database of property tax arrears, code violations, and other signs of distress to help identify properties that are abandoned or at risk of abandonment. These communities have streamlined the acquisition and stabilization of disinvested properties through reforms. These include: (1) reducing the timeline for tax foreclosures; (2) the use of voluntary conveyance, a program in which property owners can give or sell blighted properties to the municipality and be released from outstanding municipal liens; and (3) vacant property receivership, court-monitored appointment of a non-profit or mission-driven organization to stabilize or even substantially rehabilitate a disinvested property before the title is transferred.
Reforms to the tax foreclosure process that allow properties to be transferred with a clear, marketable title can facilitate the disposition of disinvested properties. Communities can also alter property disposition requirements to allow and encourage the reuse of properties for affordable housing and other community development needs.
An increasing number of communities have created a land bank to streamline the entire reinvestment process—acquisition, management, and disposition—and ensure that property disposition decisions match with local priorities and strategic goals.