Donjek Project: Coordinating the Management of Vacant Property

Foreclosure Against the backdrop of continued reeling in the residential real estate market, New York-based Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) hired Donjek this winter to develop a review of the barriers to a coordinated, large-scale response to endemic vacancy in neighborhoods. 

The emphasis of the inquiry has been on reducing the costs of vacancy in residential areas – which range from increased public safety expenses to property devaluation – by acquiring property prior to or at the time it becomes unoccupied.

At this point, fundamental challenges to a coordinated approach include:

• Policy makers, investors and housing advocates do not currently have an effective way to deal in batches of properties with unclear title, rather than on a case-by-case basis.

• We are unable to provide the kind of rapid response required to prevent vacant properties from further deteriorating, due to the scale of the challenge, lack of communication and centralized leadership. 

• The level of capital or liquidity required to deal with stress in multiple neighborhoods simultaneously is not in place.

The report focuses in particular on the land bank models exemplified by the Genesee County Land Bank (operating in and around Flint, Michigan), and the Atlanta Land Bank.  Click here to download the full Donjek report to LISC.

Photo:  Courtesy of Flickr.