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Creative Strategies for Managing Abandoned Homes

Many different types of communities are affected by foreclosure and most of them are trying to come up with new, more effective ways to respond. This includes increased land banking activities (to turn the property back to productive use), innovative code enforcement rules (to boost property upkeep), streamlined foreclosure laws (to simplify the process) and expanded receiver powers (to help give the community control over empty homes). Communities are also reworking comprehensive plans and taking steps to incorporate new and creative responses. For example, the mayor in Gary, Indiana is selling properties for one dollar but the buyer has to earn at least $35,000 and commit to living in the home for five years.

This article takes a look at strategies from around the country for coping with empty homes and subdivisions. It gives details on the scale and extent of the problem, including the ripple effect that abandoned properties have on surrounding homes, plus shares examples from various land banks and other strategies.

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