The Way Forward

Industry Update
June 4, 2018

Source: Monroe County Vacant and Abandoned Property Task Force (The Way Forward full report)

Additional Resources:

Rochester First (Task force plans to fix up abandoned properties in Monroe Co.)

WHAM ABC 13 (New task force report on vacant properties touts successes, aims to do more)

WHEC NBC 10 (Task force on vacant and abandoned properties releases report)

WXXI News (County task force targets Zombie Homes)

Facebook (report press conference)

2018 Recommendations

  1. Strengthen and build partnerships between municipalities and HUD-approved housing counseling specialists to perform outreach targeting homeowners facing mortgage or tax foreclosure.
  2. Inform the public about programs, grants and organizations to help with foreclosure prevention, home buying and rehabilitation.
  3. Work with local court officials, representatives from lenders and consumer advocates to develop an expedited foreclosure process that offers benefits to all parties involved and that will ultimately be regularly utilized.
  4. Support the statewide campaign to secure continued funding for foreclosure prevention services through the New York State budget process.
  5. Advocate with HUD to make changes to the FHFA loan sales program that will create a positive impact to communities facing an influx of vacant properties.
  6. Advocate for changes to NYS Real Property Law to allow municipalities to pursue abandonment actions against vacant properties that have serious zoning, housing, building or property maintenance code violations for more than a year.
  7. Encourage Monroe County to modify its tax lien sale policy to account for the impact that distressed properties have on neighborhoods and consider a policy similar to the City of Rochester’s, which identifies properties that should be sold at foreclosure auctions.
  8. Monroe County should develop a “bidder-qualification” process to approve bidders at tax foreclosure sales.
  9. Continue to encourage expansion of the Rochester Land Bank to include all municipalities within Monroe County.
  10. Increase the sharing of technical tools between municipalities, and with the general public.
  11. Work with lenders to increase the numbers of donated and low-cost properties to local non-profits.
  12. Encourage the return of vacant housing to community-controlled institutions like City Roots Community Land Trust for rehabilitation.
  13. Continue to implement the Neighborhood Revitalization Program as a tool to address vacant properties in the City of Rochester and Monroe County and encourage participation from all eligible municipalities.
  14. Continue the work of the Task Force and seek funding to expand its scope and outreach.
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