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New York Attorney General makes more money available to deal with blighted properties

Mayor Gary McCarthy discusses blight in the city of Schenectady.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced $20 million in new funding, to be administered by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. (Enterprise), for New York State land banks that are working to protect homeowners and neighborhoods across the state by acquiring blighted homes and transforming them into community assets.

Since 2013, A.G. Schneiderman has provided more than $33 million to land banks with funding secured through settlements with the nation’s largest banks over misconduct that contributed to the housing crisis. This latest funding, made possible by settlements announced earlier this year with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, will be offered through a competitive Request for Proposals to the state’s original 10 land banks, as well as the newest eight land banks which have formed in the last year and which are located primarily in rural communities throughout upstate New York.

Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy says blighted properties are a drag on neighborhoods and a drain on government coffers. “it drives up municipal cost because we have to babysit these properties whether it’s our Code Enforcement or from police and fire having to respond to the negative problems that those properties generate,” Mayor McCarthy said. McCarthy says his office wants to use the grant money to refurbish a county agency building off of Nott Street near Union College that has been vacant for five years. “It’s the old Department of family Services building and we are looking to convert it into apartments,” Mayor McCarthy said.

Adam Zaranko, Executive Director of the Albany County Land Bank Corporation, says his agency to date has received $2.88 million from the Office of the Attorney General. “We have made over 100 property improvements to date, stabilizing neighborhoods across the county,” Mr. Zaranko said.

Land banks must submit their applications by November 30, 2016. Awards will be announced in December.

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