Land Banks

Land banks are governmental entities that acquire vacant, abandoned, and tax delinquent properties to return them to productive use and stabilize distressed markets.

Vacant and abandoned structures have challenged cities for generations. The first land banks were established throughout the 1970s to 1990s in an effort to address the vacant properties left behind as a result urban abandonment. These passive organizations held relatively little power compared to the land banks of today. read more

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Employer-Assisted Housing

Employer-assisted housing programs provide financial assistance to employees to rent or purchase a home near their job, helping employers attract and retain high-quality employees.

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Housing costs are one of the largest monthly expenses for many households. Many jobs are located in higher cost areas of a community, putting an even greater strain on household finances if employees live near their work. read more

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Workplace Financial Wellness Programs

According to a 2017 survey by PwC, 53% of U.S. employees found it stressful to deal with their personal finances. Employers can help employees reduce the stress of financial management through workplace financial wellness programs.

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Financial wellness programs are increasingly being offered as a benefit to employees as a way of helping boost their economic security. These programs vary between employers, but are all aimed at increasing financial literacy, promoting savings, and managing debt or financial emergencies. Examples of services provided include financial coaching and counseling, debt management services, savings products and services, short-term loans and accrued wage advances, online financial management tools, and financial education classes read more

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Community Land Trusts

Community land trusts are private, non-profit corporations that provide communities with safe, affordable housing for the long-term.

The community land trust model is a mechanism to provide affordable housing through land leasing and homeownership. There are approximately 160 community land trusts operating throughout the United States. These land trusts are typically a non-profit, community-based organization whose primary mission is to create and maintain a stock of affordable housing. read more

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Learn and Earn

Meaningful work experience for young individuals can set them up for better work opportunities for the rest of their life. 

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Workplace experience is valuable for people just starting their careers, no matter what path they want to pursue. But these opportunities to get on-the-job experience are not easily available for all young people,  putting some at a disadvantage when it comes to finding a decent paying job. Paid job training programs for teenagers and young adults can help close that gap.  read more

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Historic Preservation Tax Credits

Historic buildings are assets to smaller legacy cities – but funding their renovation can be difficult.

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Smaller legacy cities are often rich with history, but lack the funding to rehabilitate their historic assets into something that can drive downtown revitalization. One tool that has worked successfully across the country is the Federal Historic Preservation Tax credit. The program has leveraged over $84 billion in private investment since 1976. read more

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Main Street America

Main Street America is a network 1,600 neighborhoods and commercial districts that share a commitment to building stronger communities.

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The “Main Street Approach” is centered around forming a focused and deliberate plan for revitalizing a downtown or commercial district’s economy. The approach has an explicit focus on the communities historic assets such as buildings, parks, or riverfronts. read more

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Partnerships between Land Banks and Community Land Trusts

Land banks have a disposition problem. Land trusts have an acquisition problem.

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A land bank is a public authority created to efficiently deal with vacant and abandoned properties. A land bank acquires, holds, manages, and disposes of these vacant properties on behalf of the municipality or government entity. Cities, counties, and states provide land banks with a variety of tools that ensure the land bank can properly deal with these nuisance properties. Land banks are often given unique legal powers that help them acquire problem properties and have the expertise to match redevelopment with the long-term interests of the community. read more

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Business Improvement Districts (BIDs)

Business Improvement Districts can clean up a city’s central commercial district and open the door for private investment. 

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The Business Improvement District (known as a Special Improvement District in some states) is a community development tool that brings together property/business owners in a defined geography to self-fund improvements to the district’s infrastructure and public spaces. Once the district is established, the BID assesses a fee based on property values to the property owners within the district’s boundaries to pay for these services.   read more

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