A new report released May 27, 2016 by the Northeast-Midwest Institute finds that most targeted and stable federal support for addressing blight is decreasing, time-limited, or stagnant in the face of rising supply and labor costs.
Vacant and abandoned property is a problem that in recent decades has plagued many Northeast and Midwest cities still recovering from post-industrial population and job loss. In many cases, the foreclosure crisis has exacerbated the problem. The cost of fighting blight—whether through rehabilitation, demolition, or land reuse—is high; in many places, the need greatly exceeds available funding. This report:
- Characterizes the state of vacant and abandoned property in cities within the Northeast-Midwest region, in general; and the Great Lakes sub-region, in particular
- Provides a brief overview of local approaches to addressing blight
- Inventories federal programs that support rehabilitation, demolition, and land reuse
- Describes federal legislative efforts in the 114th Congress
- Assesses federal resources and makes policy recommendations to improve support
The report determines that although an array of federal resources exists for cities that are willing and able to invest time and energy, and to think creatively, when it comes to addressing blight, the largest, most stable, and most-targeted federal support for addressing blight is decreasing, time-limited, or stagnant in the face of rising supply and labor costs.
The report includes an inventory or more than 25 programs that could be used to address blight, along with details on eligibility, funding, example projects, and more. The report also presents recommendations for federal policy makers, who have several options ahead of them if they wish to move beyond the status quo and accelerate tackling blight.
Prior to the release of the report, on May 24, 2016, the Northeast-Midwest Institute hosted a briefing on fighting blight in the Northeast-Midwest region. More details on the briefing and presentation slides can be viewed here.
This report continues the Institute’s work on issues facing the region’s older cities, including in the areas of brownfields, environmental health, energy, sustainable communities, and demographic trends.