New Life for Zombie Houses

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Who remembers this old house, now gone, in Southampton?  Dawn Watson photo.

The Town of Southampton announced on Friday that it  will receive a $175,000 grant from New York State to help remedy vacant and abandoned properties, aka “zombie houses.”

The money comes from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, through the New York State Housing Stabilization Fund. The funds won’t be used to clean up “Walking Dead” type messes (did you SEE last night’s very sad season opener??? Yikes!), but will rather  go toward establishing a proactive, sustainable program for prevention and remediation of vacant, blighted and abandoned properties.

Here’s how:

* Creating a database of “zombie,” properties by reviewing existing information services and inspecting properties, and share information with governmental and nonprofit partners for the purpose of returning the properties to productive use.

* Implementing grassroots outreach to connect property owners with foreclosure prevention programs NYS-HOPP and NYS-MAP.

* Training municipal officials to explore strategies, tools and best practices for addressing vacant and abandoned properties.

* Adding a part-time code enforcement staff member to focus on property maintenance issues.

“We want to get to the root of the problem and prevent “zombie” homes from popping up in our neighborhoods,” says Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. “We believe we can stop it before it happens by identifying potential properties before they are either abandoned or go into foreclosure. We want to help people stay in their homes and connect them to services that will do just that.”

Southampton is one of 16 communities on Long Island that will receive a total of $3.3 million in state grants to help reduce the number of Zombie homes on Long Island.

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