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State program to turn blighted homes into affordable rentals

Some blighted homes around the state could find new life as affordable rental properties, under a new program unveiled by state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

A $4 million grant initiative, called Neighbors for Neighborhoods, is expected to create up to 80 affordable rental homes in communities with active land banks.

A nonprofit organization, Enterprise Community Partners, is administering the program. Enterprise will invite 16 land banks around the state to submit requests for subsidies on a project-by-project basis. Erie, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties all have land banks.

The land banks will transfer dilapidated properties, at little or no cost, to new owners to fix up. Each property will receive an estimated $50,000 subsidy toward renovation costs, in exchange for keeping the housing units at affordable prices for at least 20 years.

The funding comes from the Attorney General’s 2014 and 2015 settlements with Citigroup and Bank of America.

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