On March 4, 2014, RHLS Managing Attorney, Judy Berkman, testified in front of the Committee on Public Health and Human Services of the Philadelphia City Council about issues related to conservatorship and blight remediation. Judy is a recognized expert in conservatorship issues and has published a manual for attorneys working in the area.
Recently the Data Collaborative (a collaborative of four housing-related intermediary organizations — RHLS, the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, and Philadelphia LISC — along with The Reinvestment Fund) released the preliminary results of a study on Philadelphia’s targeted blight enforcement activities.
Using tools from Act 90 and the local “windows and doors” ordinance the City of Philadelphia’s Licenses and Inspections Department engaged in a data-driven targeted enforcement effort over the last several years. The Data Collaborative reviewed the enforcement strategy and the results in order to determine the efficacy of the new blight-remediation tools.
In areas where there was targeted enforcement, there was an average increase in home sale price of 31% (versus 1% in comparable areas)! The targeted areas had about the same level of tax delinquency during the same period, but tax delinquency in the comparable areas increased. TRF estimated that the enforcement action helped to increase surrounding property sales prices by as much as $74M, which would translate into more than $2M more in transfer tax revenue for the City.
An op-ed was published in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer encouraging Philadelphia’s City Council to pass land bank legislation before taking a summer recess. The op-ed was co-authored by Anne Fadullon of the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia, Nilda Ruiz of APM, and Rick Sauer of Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations.
A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania shows that people living in communities with a significant amount of vacancies believe that the vacancies negatively impact their mental and physical health, as well as the health of their community. Vacant land is perceived to be a factor in dividing neighbors, attracting crime, and increasing fear in the residents.
The Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land is running a best/worst vacant lots competition. You can participate by entering into the competition with a photo of a vacant lot. Prizes are available for the best and worst lots.