Genesee County Land Bank Authority – Land banking to revitalise distressed areas in the United States
Ownership and tenure
Main objectives of the project
- Microcredit Foundation HORIZONTI
- Habitat for Humanity
Continent: North America
United States of America
The Genesee County Land Bank Authority (GCLBA) is an example of a Michigan state land bank.Michigan State has suffered from widespread and long-term abandonment which accelerated following the global financial crisis. Between 2005 and 2015 GCLBA took responsibility for over 14,000 abandoned tax delinquent homes. To determine what to do with all these homes it consulted with the neighbourhoods via a citizen advisory council and outreach officers. This process has built trust with the residents and engaged them in developing solutions. These solutions include not only demolishing unsafe unsightly properties and creating green spaces, but also renovating selected homes and selling them to local tenants for affordable home ownership. Context
In the United States of America (United States), land banking has been used to revitalise economically distressed areas. Their role has become even more important since the global financial crises and subsequent foreclosures. Public land banks acquire distressed, foreclosed or abandoned properties with the intent of redeploying them for more productive use. Rehabilitation and resale regenerates neighbourhoods and increases property tax revenue, and importantly redistributes properties to meet specific community needs, such as affordable housing.
For a guide for establishing a land bank in the United States, see Frank S. Alexander, Land Banks and Land Banking, 2nd ed. (Flint, Michigan, Center for Community Progress, 2015). Available at https://community-wealth.org/sites/clone.community-wealth.org/files/downloads/report-alexander15.pdf.
Home sales were offered to first time home purchasers, under favourable contracts. The average home in 2015 cost only USD 6,500 (approximately EUR 5,500) with monthly payments of USD 200 (about EUR 170) for five years. Purchasers negotiate feasible and sustainable conditions with the land bank to ensure their long-term stability as residents, thus strengthening the community and improving local safety and dignity. Non-governmental not-for-profit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity sometimes act as intermediaries for renovating the homes and finding suitable purchasers.