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Thousands of Vacant Properties in Upstate New York Are Choking Neighborhood Rejuvenation, Dragging Down Property Values & Draining Local Resources

President's Budget Includes $1 Billion for a Housing Trust Fund and Nearly $4.5 Billion for Community Development Block Grants

Both Programs Will Serve as Additional Source of Money that Buffalo, Niagara, Rochester, Syracuse,

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U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that in the budget released today, President Obama has included substantial new funding that can be used to fight the housing blight that plagues communities across Upstate New York. In his budget request released today, the President created a $1 billion Housing Trust Fund and fully funds Community Development Block Grants with $4.45 billion. Both programs could be used to help Upstate New York communities redevelop vacant and abandoned properties. Schumer, who cosponsored the legislation that created the new trust fund and fought to make sure CDBG funding was increased, said this critical investment will help rebuild and revitalize communities struggling to cope with a growing vacant housing scourge.


"With this budget proposal, President Obama has heard the voice of Upstate New York loud and clear. We must do something to stop the vacant housing crisis in Upstate New York and President Obama's budget will provide new resources for communities to tackle the problem head on," Schumer said. "The vacant housing crisis chokes rejuvenation, invites crime, drags down property values in both the city and the suburbs, and puts a drain on our local resources. These two programs will deliver Upstate New York communities the additional funds necessary to implement new strategies to combat the vacant housing blight."


There are thousands of vacant properties in Upstate New York cities that are severely hurting property values and neighborhood rejuvenation. There are over 10,000 vacant properties in the Capital Region; approximately 1,300 vacant properties in the Syracuse area; approximately 3,000 vacant properties in the Rochester area; and nearly 12,000 vacant properties in the Buffalo area.


The blight costs Upstate New York cities significant resources in lost taxes, debris removal, inspections and policing. Vacant houses are also sources for arson, drug dealing, and other crimes. Scholars and housing advocates argue the problem of vacant housing is a major barrier in efforts to rejuvenate neighborhoods and raise property values across an area. President Obama's budget would create a new Housing Trust Fund with $1 billion and expands funding for Community Development Block Grants to $4.45 billion. Both programs could provide additional resources to help communities redevelop vacant and abandoned properties so they no longer drag down entire neighborhoods.