On November 3, 2014, the Poughkeepsie Common Council voted unanimously in favor of the Vacant and Foreclosed Properties Bond Ordinance.
We’ve stepped forward as the first city in New York State to adopt this type of legislation, and only the seventh in the nation.
Foreclosures are one of the leading causes of fiscal budget crises. Part of these costs is that banks often leave vacant homes in foreclosure for years since they do not want to bear the costs of maintaining the property. According to a study done for the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, a foreclosure and/or vacant property can cost municipalities over $34,000. These costs include legal fees and expenses associated with managing the foreclosure process, lost or delayed taxes and utility payments, maintenance, increased policing and responses to fires, and inspections.
We’re flipping the script on the banks. Over the last decade, Wall Street targeted low income communities and communities of color with predatory loans that have now resulted in hundreds of vacant homes. They’ve profited while taxpayers have footed the bill. Nobody Leaves believes that public money should not be subsidizing priveate profit. With about 700 vacant homes in Poughkeepsie and hundreds more in foreclosure the city is likely losing millions of dollars due to foreclosures and vacancies. This ordinance will save the city millions and additionally bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue through administrative fees and fines. Now we have a way to hold the banks accountable.
Many thanks for this victory go out to the Poughkeepsie Common Councilors who voted “yes,” the City Administration, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and our allies at Community Voices Heard.