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Huntington Awarded National Vacant Properties Technical Assistance Scholarship

The City of Huntington has been selected as one of three 2017 scholarship recipients in the Center for Community Progress’ national Technical Assistance Scholarship Program (TASP).

Technical assistance delivered through the scholarship program will help the Huntington Urban Renewal Authority and other local and statewide stakeholders understand the costs that vacant and abandoned properties impose on municipal government and residents.

Through TASP, the Center for Community Progress, a national nonprofit, helps communities break new ground in their efforts to address property vacancy, abandonment, and deterioration. Community Progress then shares best practices developed through TASP with its national audience. The other two 2017 scholarship recipients are Albany, New York, and Memphis, Tennessee.

“We are honored to be a recipient of a technical assistance scholarship from the Center for Community Progress,” Mayor Steve Williams said. “We have been innovative in addressing our vacant and abandoned properties, and we intend to set a standard that others will follow.

“The Center for Community Progress is a leading advocate on addressing distressed properties and has been an active partner with the City of Huntington. We look forward to expanding that relationship further.”

Assistance in Huntington will focus on delinquent tax enforcement systems, public safety, and neighborhood stabilization. The goal is to raise awareness among rural communities seeking to better understand the costs of, and solutions for, vacancy and abandonment in West Virginia and beyond.

Through TASP, recipient communities will receive up to 400 hours of assistance from a team of national experts over eight months between April and November 2017. Assistance may include a diagnosis of the most pressing problems, evaluation of current systems and strategies, and recommendations on solutions that involve key government decision-makers, residents, and other stakeholders.

“Albany, Huntington, and Memphis have each demonstrated a commitment to strengthening their revitalization work to benefit local residents,” said Tamar Shapiro, president and CEO of the Center for Community Progress. “We are excited to work in each of these places to pioneer strategies that will not only help these communities, but also other places that will learn from these efforts.”

Huntington and the other recipients were chosen through a competitive process, which included a written application round followed by an in-person site assessment for five finalists. Proposed projects are reviewed on a range of criteria, including the potential for innovation from which other cities can learn, demonstrated leadership to implement reform, overall scale of vacancy challenges, and need for outside assistance. Grant funding from JPMorgan Chase provides the program’s support.

“Addressing blight is one of the most impactful ways to improve neighborhoods and local economies,” said Janis Bowdler, Head of Community Development at JPMorgan Chase. “By arming city leadership with technical assistance through the Center for Community Progress, we are giving them the tools they need to drive inclusive economic growth in a highly tactical and productive way.”

About Center for Community Progress
Founded in 2010, the Center for Community Progress is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to building a future in which entrenched property vacancy, abandonment, and deterioration no longer exist in American communities. Community Progress serves as the leading resource for local, state and federal policies and best practices that address the full cycle of property revitalization, from prevention, through the acquisition and maintenance of problem properties, to their productive reuse. More information is available at www.communityprogress.net.

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