Three Capital Region Communities Selected for Anti-Blight Initiative
June 13, 2017
As published by The Times Union, on June 12, 2017.
Albany, Schenectady and Saratoga Springs are among the 18 communities that will receive funding to combat blight through through smarter use of data as part of the first phase of the Cities for Responsible Investment and Strategic Enforcement (“Cities RISE”) grant awards, state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s office announced Monday.
The program is intended to transform vacant and poorly maintained problem properties through the use of housing and community data from several state agencies. It will hand out a total of $10 million over two years.
The program, launched in April, uses funds from settlements with major banks resolving actions that contributed to the Wall Street meltdown of 2008. Schneiderman has used some of New York’s share of those settlements to back a number of initiatives designed to boost home ownership, avoid foreclosure and battle blight.
“Too many New Yorkers are still struggling in the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis,” Schneiderman said in a statement. ” … Cities RISE presents a 21st-century approach to overcoming this crisis and revitalizing New York’s communities.”
The 18 grant recipients were selected by two national community development nonprofits, Enterprise Community Partners and the Local Initiatives Support Corp. They 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, plus support and advice from a range of specialists.
In addition to the three Capital Region cities other participants in Cities RISE include New York City, Binghamton, Buffalo, Newburgh, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers.
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said she was grateful to see the capital city included among the grant recipients. “While we have made progress fighting blight, there is much more work to be done, and this software will provide much needed support as we continue our efforts to bring vacant buildings back into productive use,” she said in a statement.