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New York awards $10 million to 18 cities to fight neighborhood blight

Money comes from financial crisis settlements

Over the last several years, the state of New York has undertaken a multi-pronged approach to fight the blight that took place in many neighborhoods throughout the state in the wake of the housing crisis.

Last year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed what the state called “sweeping” legislation to reform the state’s foreclosure process and address the state’s issues with zombie homes.

Then, the state handed out millions of dollars the state’s land banks as part of a continuing effort to fight neighborhood blight, and New York City announced plans to launch a “first of its kind” program to buy a number of delinquent loans from the Federal Housing Administration as part of an effort to keep struggling homeowners from losing their homes to foreclosure.

And Monday, the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that it is launching a new program and awarding $10 million over the next two years to 18 cities to be used for neighborhood revitalization.

The awards are part of a new program called “Cities for Responsible Investment and Strategic Enforcement” or Cities RISE, which “aims to innovatively address and transform blighted, vacant, or poorly maintained problem properties through the use of housing and community data from various state agencies.”

The $10 million in grants is part of the first phase of the Cities RISE program. The money for the program is coming from New York’s recent mortgage settlements, which include Goldman Sachs$5 billion settlement over toxic mortgage bonds, and Morgan Stanley’s $3.2 billion settlement over its “deceptive” mortgage bond practices in the run-up to the financial crisis.

According to Schneiderman’s office, the 18 grantees were selected by national community development nonprofits Enterprise Community Partners and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which are managing the program.

Through the program, the 18 cities and towns will receive a two-year subscription to a data platform designed to integrate and analyze data such as code enforcement records, tax liens, and fire and police data.

The 18 winning cities and towns are:

  • City of Albany
  • City of Binghamton
  • City of Buffalo
  • City of White Plains
  • City of Elmira
  • Town of Huntington
  • Town of Irondequot
  • Town of Islip
  • City of Mount Vernon
  • City of Newburgh
  • City of Niagara Falls
  • Town of North Hempstead
  • New York City
  • City of Rochester
  • City of Saratoga Springs
  • City of Schenectady
  • City of Syracuse
  • City of Yonkers

“Too many New Yorkers are still struggling in the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis. That’s why my office is investing the dollars we secured from the banks, to provide the tools necessary to rebuild and strengthen our neighborhoods,” Schneiderman said. “Cities RISE presents a 21st century approach to overcoming this crisis and revitalizing New York’s communities.”

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