Bryan Cohen Aug. 1, 2013, 7:00pm

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Wednesday the opening of a competitive request for applications process that will fund the rebuilding and restoration of neighborhoods recovering from the housing crisis.

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of vacant properties in the state of New York grew 27 percent. Abandoned and vacant properties can lower property value, discourage property ownership and attract criminal activities. In 2011, the New York State Legislature passed a bill in 2011 to establish land banks that could acquire such properties and choose to rebuild, demolish or redesign them.

Since the legislation was passed, no federal or state funds were dedicated to any of New York's land banks. Land banks authorized under the Land Bank Act of 2011 are eligible to apply for the new funding opportunity. The funding will allow the land banks to fulfill their intended purpose of reviving recovering neighborhoods.

"Communities across the state are blighted by vacant and abandoned properties, a problem made worse by the foreclosure crisis," Schneiderman said. "Today, we are taking an important step toward solving the problem. Land banks are a proven tool for redeveloping abandoned properties and revitalizing communities. By dedicating money from the National Mortgage Settlement to land banks across New York, we'll empower local communities to rebuild their own neighborhoods, house by house, block by block."

By restoring abandoned or vacant properties, land banks can lower costs for local governments, reduce crime, benefit public schools and improve the local economy.

The Land Bank Act of 2011 authorized eight land banks in New York state with two additional land banks that may be established pending an application process.

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New York Attorney General
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State of New York
Albany, NY, United States
Albany, NY

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