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Land Banks
PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:07pm
Mon Sep 8, 2014

Chicago-Area Foreclosures Hit Pre-Recession Levels, But The Housing Crisis Is Far From Over

Chicago's six-county region recorded 13,916 new foreclosure filings in the first half of 2014, a nearly 38 percent drop from a year ago and the lowest level reached since 2007, according to a report by the Woodstock Institute. Local housing activists working to help struggling homeowners offer their take on the new data as well as policies meant to stymie the ongoing negative effects of foreclosures.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:45pm
Mon Jul 1, 2013

Vacant Building Registries Lack Key Data, New Report Shows

Local municipalities should ramp up vacant–building data collection to help address a problem that continues to ravage Chicago–area communities due to the foreclosure crisis, according to a new report from the Woodstock Institute.
 
The "Deciphering Blight" report looked at the wide–ranging data that 47 local governments in the Chicago six–county region currently collect through their vacant property registries.
 
According to the report, a majority of the local governments kept thorough data on the parties responsible for vacant buildings. And more than half kept track of a property’s unique identifier like a PIN number.
 
But more than half of the municipalities did not collect data on the nature of the vacancy, and many vacant building registries lacked other key information. 
Quick Hit
by Steven Ross Johnson
3:52pm
Tue Jan 22, 2013

A Look At What The Cook County Land Bank Hopes To Accomplish

In an effort to reverse the problems that have cropped up in a number of communities over recent years as a result of the rise in vacant and abandoned properties, the Cook County Board voted last week to create a countywide land bank, a move Board Commissioner Bridget Gainer is hopeful will act as a first step towards economic revitalization for some of the area’s most blighted neighborhoods.

Last week, the Cook County Board voted unanimously in favor of forming the Cook County Land Bank Authority, which will be tasked with acquiring vacant and abandoned properties with the goal of making them taxable entities once they’re redeveloped.

Once up and running, the Authority will be geograpically the largest land bank in the country. Gainer said much of its focus, in the beginning, will be on helping communities that have been hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.

“One of the things that I worried about when we traveled all over the county talking to people in these communities was that some of these communities are going to hit a point of no return with the percentage of vacancies,” Gainer said. “We’ve got to jump in and stop that from happening.”

PI Original
by Matthew Blake
4:52pm
Fri Jan 18, 2013

No Movement On Chicago Infrastructure Trust, Yet

Proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel last March and approved by the Chicago City Council in April, the Infrastructure Trust outlined a way to finance infrastructure projects in the city during a time of prolonged federal and state budget crises and near absolute political aversion to tax increases. Its polarizing central concept of private companies investing in public infrastructure and then receiving some undefined return on their investment was alternately seen as a revolutionary way to improve Chicago and a nefarious step towards private investors opaquely dictating public policy. We take a look at what has come of the controversial Trust thus far.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
3:51pm
Tue Aug 14, 2012

Emanuel Opposition May Squelch Use Of Eminent Domain On Foreclosures

A San Francisco-based firm spent the morning trying to sell the Chicago City Council on the idea that they can use eminent domain to seize properties in danger of falling into foreclosure. The firm argued that the use of eminent domain, which occurs when government acquires private property in the name of the greater good, could lead to the public benefit of fewer foreclosures. Representatives from Mortgage Resolution Partners LLC had the ear of Ald. Ed Burke (14th), chairman of the City Council Finance Committee, and the backing of Ald. Ray Suarez (31st), head of the Housing and Real Estate Committee.

But the effort was perhaps futile as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel indicated at a press conference today that he opposes the plan.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Emanuel said that he did not think eminent domain was the “right instrument” to combat foreclosures.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
4:49pm
Tue Jul 24, 2012

Board Takes First Step Toward Cook County Land Bank

The Cook County Board passed a resolution today setting up a committee that has 60 days to devise a model for a county land bank, an ambitious proposal that board President Toni Preckwinkle called a “critical tool to help combat the foreclosure crisis and eradicate blight in our communities.”

As we have reported, a land bank is a quasi-governmental organization intended to seize and manage properties until they can be put into productive use.