(New York, NY) – Today, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced $20 million in grants to 19 Land Banks across New York State — bringing the Attorney General’s total contributions to Land Banks to $57 million since 2013. Land Banks serve not only as a revitalization strategy for blighted properties, but also transform empty lots and vacant properties into affordable housing. Though the creation of a Land Bank and Land Trust has long been proposed by Comptroller Stringer and advocates to mitigate our affordable housing crisis, they have not been created. As such, New York City was not a recipient of these grants.

“This is a mistake of our own making. We should be using every tool in the kit to solve our greatest challenges — and we aren’t. If we want to build more affordable housing, and if we want to support working families, we need to leverage government-owned lots that have sat vacant for decades. By now, we should have created a city Land Bank and Land Trust — and begun creating tens of thousands of units of low-income housing. We just left more money on the table.”

“In the age of Donald Trump, when Washington is working around the clock to undercut affordable housing and take an ax to NYCHA’s budget, we should be competing for every penny. But today New York City let a real opportunity slip by, and we shouldn’t let it happen again. We should create a Land Bank and Land Trust.”

In a February 2016 audit, Comptroller Stringer’s office found that the City owns more than 1,100 parcels of vacant land and sells hundreds of tax liens on persistently delinquent sites each year. In a companion report, Building an Affordable Future: The Promise of a New York City Land Bank, Comptroller Stringer announced his proposal for a New York City Land Bank and Land Trust. By utilizing vacant, government-owned lots through a Land Bank and Land Trust, the City could create over 57,000 units of permanent low-income housing.

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