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11Oct

Communities Take Action to Fight Blight

By: Phyllis Chamberlain

Published: October 11, 2017

Senator David Argall (R-Schuylkill/Berks), Chairman of the Pennsylvania Blight Task Force and a great champion of state level policies and programs to tackle blight, issued a challenge to communities across the Commonwealth in a recent Letter to the Editor published in the Easton Express-Times: “If your community is not using these laws in the battle against blight, it’s time to speak up and ask ‘why not’?” His letter pointed out the numerous tools that have been made possible through state enabling legislation. These tools are due to his leadership, the Housing Alliance’s own efforts, champions within the General Assembly, and countless others.

The Housing Alliance has a long history of creating tools and resources and providing technical assistance to assist local leaders to fight blight. The PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and its Governor’s Center for Local Government Services recognizes the connection between a municipality’s fiscal health and the prevalence of vacant, abandoned, and tax delinquent properties. And due to their support, the Housing Alliance is able to offer technical assistance* to communities in the Act 47 Municipalities Financial Recovery Program to create and implement strategies that will help communities fight blight.

Many communities are implementing strategies available in PA and documented in From Blight to Bright. Over the last few weeks and months, more communities have put in place strategies that will better prevent and remediate blight in their communities.

Blight undermines a community’s ability to revitalize its neighborhoods and economy. It remains a pressing issue in Pennsylvania, however, communities continue to take actions that will more quickly and efficiently bring properties back into productive use.

For information on resources available to fight blight, go to the PA Blight Library and download We Can Do This! A Five-Step, Fast-Track Blight Plan, Developing and Implementing a Comprehensive Blight Strategy, Land Bank Resource Guide and From Blight to Bright.

* The Housing Alliance is able to provide this assistance through the contracting services of Winnie Branton of Branton Strategies.
If your community is in the Act 47 Municipalities Financial Recovery Act program, contact Winnie Branton with Branton Strategies LLC who serves as the Housing Alliance’s Blight Technical Assistance Program Manager. We thank DCED for making this resource available to communities.

 

Find out more about the Act 47 programs and DCED’s Local Government Services, to learn more about what you can do about blight in your community.

 

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