Land banks across the country are helping to make equitable, inclusive neighborhoods and resilient communities possible. State and local laws grant land banks special powers that allow them to focus on some of the most complicated problem properties: those that are vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated (VAD). By acquiring problem properties, stewarding them on behalf of the public, engaging residents, and attracting new investment, land banks are generating significant positive impacts for the communities they serve.
Tarik Abdelazim, a national expert on land banks with the Center for Community Progress, spoke with more than 60 community leaders in South Bend regarding best practices within the land bank movement. Many Indiana communities struggle with vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties. Land banks are quasi-public entities that take temporary ownership of delinquent properties and, in a transparent and consistent manner, transfer them to responsible buyers who will repurpose them into productive uses consistent with community priorities. The August 30th meeting, co-sponsored by PI and eight other South Bend community-based organizations, leveraged Tarik’s and CCP’s extensive experience to outline how a land bank could work in and benefit South Bend. The meeting was part of CCP’s technical assistance scholarship to PI and a value-add to PI membership.