OGDENSBURG — The city of Ogdensburg will receive a $140,000 grant to address the issue of zombie properties.
This is the second time the city has been awarded money from New York state’s Zombie and Vacant Properties Remediation and Prevention Initiative.
Total funding for the so-called Zombies 2.0 awards, amounted to $9 million divided among 48 municipalities.
The grants provide funds to municipalities to increase housing code enforcement, track and monitor vacant properties, and bolster legal enforcement capacity to ensure banks and mortgage companies comply with local and state law.
In April 2017, the city received $150,000 through an initial round of zombie grant funding, with the money earmarked for addressing the adverse effects of vacant one- to four-family homes whose owners were in default on their mortgages or in some stage of the foreclosure process.
Ogdensburg Planning and Development Director Andrea L. Smith said in February that state officials encouraged Ogdensburg to seek additional funds in the second round.
Ms. Smith said in February that with Round 2 funding, city staff would improve the technological capabilities of the code office to better track, manage and predict vacant, abandoned and derelict properties.
“Too many communities throughout New York State are blighted by abandoned homes that decrease property values and threaten the safety of our neighborhoods,” New York State Attorney General Letitia James said in a press release from her office. “These grants will go a long way in supporting municipalities and ensuring they have the resources they need to combat this nuisance. Revitalizing our communities is always a priority and I am proud that my office can help turn these abandoned properties into valuable assets.”
Municipalities will receive grants ranging between $50,000 and $500,000 based on the size of the community, the scale and severity of their zombie problems, and their proposed use of such funds. These awards are a continuation of the 2016 Zombie Remediation and Prevention Initiative created by the Office of the New York Attorney General to address housing challenges, especially vacancy and blight; and to track-and-monitor vacant abandoned properties, to help these cities and towns to clear out zombie properties.
To be eligible, applicants must have at least 5,000 residents and more than 100 vacant properties; and through these funds, these municipalities will be able to:
n Improve data collection and analysis to track vacant and abandoned properties;
n Invest in new technology to better collect and analyze data to address the collective impact of vacant properties on neighborhoods;
n Create “Zombie Coordinators” and “Taskforces” to coordinate code enforcement activities and resources;
n Boost capacity of code enforcement and legal departments to enforce relevant laws to hold lienholders accountable or seek remedies to improve housing quality; and,
n Connect at-risk homeowners to foreclosure prevention resources.